Eventually I run out of bullshit to say and tell her, you‘re beautiful. Arris gives me one of her soft looks and says, ‘I know.’ Her words stick in my heart as the most wonderful of splinters, I collect them now and forge little tableaux with the material. When they are ready I unveil them to her like proud popsicle constructions of architectural marvels. ‘This is good,’ she always says, and gives me tips toward their betterment. You’re not merely beautiful but right, I tell her. ‘So are you,’ she says, unloading a fresh batch of structural substance.
Finally found a rhythm and she pushes me off, curls up and goes dark. Still hard, I say, what? limply, shocked not confused. She mutters, ‘doesn’t matter,’ but it does. I am sticky now and absent from two spaces, unable to move forward. When I touch her it’s wrong, like sanding marble, bringing out the finish. I say okay without question and lay back into silence, sarcophagus pose. Pictured from the ceiling down, I see us in tableaux and want to carve it into something, a relief, though nothing ever tuns out as I see it in my mind.
Time stops while I look around the room at all the nothing. A still life tableaux. Cup with rim of coffee rind. Cigarette case with cancer council warning and Bic lighter mooring. Origami paper cranes and crumpled mistakes. Affluent layers of dust and ash. I drag my fingers across the table scraping patterns in the silt, they mean nothing but my mind refuses to admit it. I trace them out, feeling for meaning with a desperation I’m not used to. These final moments should mean something, if not for me than for somebody, but there’s nothing here to decipher.