There are several possibilities, here. We will sit in this room. I will clear a space and I will ask that he sit. There. What will I do with him? He is not going to leave. I can see he dressed for this. His collar isn’t straight. He was in a rush and now he’s disheveled.
She’s sneering. He winces.
The myth of the savage child:Dark eyes, dark hair, dirty skin, brutish glances
emerging from between the chairs pulled tight under tables Locking
her in Locking them out
Picking at the scabs on her knees she’s singing rhymes trying
to make sense of the world. Making it up as she peels herself apart,
The parts of her beneath the brown crust are sometimes red often colors
she likes to lick and regard as the prettiest parts of herself kept hidden
in plain sight
They don’t like to look
Let them turn their heads
She can get anything she wants when their backs are turned.
where’s that thing that holds this flesh together that length
of binding rope to correct my wayward feet
the tether bracing my shoulder blades taut, only now angelic,
palms and fingers swanning outward from bound wrists?
where’s that rough slap to teach me
what I am here to do
here for you alone
I take up space
make me small
Still my voice
teach me yours
You’re walking ahead of me again. Always a couple of steps behind you, I am freer to daydream, possibly why you allow me to straggle behind.Days like these, where you are making me walk with you from shop to shop, I know that you prefer to have your head clear and my mouth closed. With all the pretty things around me I am more than capable of obliging. Today we are buying a dress. Well, it’s a dress for you. I get to try on a thousand dresses and you stand outside the dressing rooms of a thousand shops evaluating, measuring, testing me. I am supposed to stay in the room if the dress is perfect, come out if I’m not sure about it and change if it is a poor fit. The criteria for perfect always changes though, according to the notions you have in your head about exactly how it is you think I ought to be presented, behaving and adorned. You don’t share this with me, only maintain a count in your head of each time I misjudge your desires. I have to think hard, concentrate on you all the time.
Today I think I catch you picking clothes a size too small. Clothes that force me to draw in my breathing and let it out in measured puffs. I find I must stand erect and keep my hands in one position or another, not waving about. I consider this and decide that I will demonstrate the prettiest dress in this style for you, just to make sure. Once on, I am very stiff and can barely manage the lock handle and exit to the dressing room, let alone make it to where you stand, chin lowered eyes sharp, hands still I am yours to judge and I approach you with lowered eyes, slowed gait and still but not stiff arms. Coming within a few feet of you I pause and wait for your instructions. Silence. People are staring, watching, they always are. I know you don’t care about them and suspect you realize it is another part of my endless perversion to be on display in this manner for them. I think you know I feel privileged and special. This is why I am so bad. It is why you must discipline me. “Turn.” I hear you. I begin to gently spin my toes out like a ballerina. Soft and slow motion smooth and gentle. It might take me a few minutes but what is time when this is all for your pleasure?
“Fine.” We are finished and I can change clothes and know that by the time I emerge from the dressing room you will have dispatched a sales person to find and sell you the dress so that we can leave immediately.
After our dress shopping you insist that I walk ahead of you for two blocks. This is to make sure I understand what you are after. You slow your usually swift gait to a very measured stroll and settle into it to watch my performance. I hope I can guess. Taking my cue from the fit of the dress I begin to walk like a geisha with bound feet. A geisha with bound feet on a tightrope. With each step I modify it very slightly for nuance and for grace. I know your eyes will fall to the shift of my hips and so I make sure they remain rather still and move only forward and back rather than the usual languid side to side sway.
I remember to keep my fingers loose and to allow my shoulders to relax while pulling up on my torso to maintain good posture. There is always so much to think about but I know your eyes are traveling from spot to spot and I want so badly to please you and I know there will always be some small thing that will nevertheless signify my failures to you.Then you will be forced to correct me.
Two blocks pass and many people pass. As they go by they usually turn, if they aren’t themselves in too much a hurry, to try and understand what is happening. As I mentioned, this is typically the case and I have been punished before for playing up to their stares so this time I try to be very good and only look into some vague middle space between the pavement ahead and my feet. You cannot see my eyes but you know exactly what I am up to given any shift in my posture and I will be harshly dealt with for ever trying to attract or to maintain the attention of any stranger you haven’t chosen for me. I walk.
while arm paddling draped across air, breath bag into plastic bag, transfer in-2 dependence
rain fell over tricky lake
from middle edgesight muddle
earth-air from water gone distance
once some one was left there
swimming in circles
rain, fear: pain
diving in with artificial lung
carrying plastic container
me kicking into center fast
rain, thunder! a disappearing face til I’m with it
always laughing hand offers water to one soaking wet
before I tow him to land
Effrontery! Gall! Balls! Daring! Dash!