our bellies stretch like animal carcasses. our flesh some new cartography. i still remember when we dug those foxholes at the beach. so many holes dotting the sand. we made time to curl up inside of each one. maybe because mother was always telling us to “make time for family.” you sang to me every night in my bedroom before i went to sleep. sang to me and hushed me and held me the way you held your organs, perfectly and in place. i was always so impressed by you. impressed by the way you ate and stood. i stood just like you, i remember. always slightly hunched over, always slightly bent, but ever so slightly.
it started with just one night. i was so young, lying on the carpet shivering. i had just had one of those dreams again. one of those flying dreams where i’m flying over woods and water and places i’ve never even been to and then i see a parent and a child and suddenly i am falling so quickly. suddenly i am landing flushed and naked on the floor. then i guess you came, so silently, standing in the doorway like a ghost. i wish i could remember you well enough. part of me wishes i could remember you holding me but at the same time my stomach is dark with so many moths, just trying to remember. not wanting to remember, really.
later in life it is summer and dark and i am at a party and i am hot and sweaty and sticky and there is a boy there and his thumb is on my left cheek, so close to the corner of my mouth, and his lips won’t stop leaning into mine. my eyes are closed. i am trying to remember his face, but i keep thinking about yours and am overwhelmed with the needles that are suddenly springing to the corners of my eyes. it is all i can do not to find a bed and start rocking back and forth, or if not a bed, at least the tiled floor of a bathroom. i love tiled floors so much, especially when they have been lit by winter. i lie on them when i am sick and getting out of the bath. baths drain so much energy. i picture you stroking my hair and letting me ***** and picking me up out of the tub and everything seems so familiar that i start shivering compulsively. the boy (addled mind keeps me from even remembering his name) looks at me. you are so strange, he is thinking, it is summer and you are shivering, why are you shivering, but he is also nice enough, i guess, and gives me his sweatshirt, which i don’t even need, because i am not shivering out of coldness. i don’t tell him that, though. i just take the sweatshirt and close it to my neck and let my body sweat. i want to lie on the grass. i want to be o.k. with letting my head spin.
a week later the boy is at home. you seem unnervingly fine. i begin to wonder if maybe i’m crazy.