Night, Fall

May 22, 2010

Fine grooves split down the shells of refulgent embers, carving outlines of Halloween teeth into blackened wood, and spheres of tangerine held in your eyes like dry planets while water stole up the sand to make negatives of our toes. Lying back, the smell of marshmallows and ash filled our noses and stars clumped and circled overhead like a halo stretched over Earth. I said something about not being able to see the leaves changing color and we laughed at our seriousness. With an exhale, we closed our eyes as freckles of red danced over us like fireflies.

Summer’s End: August 22nd, 1978

May 16, 2010

We sat between goalposts, picking grass until egg yolk broke across the sky and the whites clumped lazily together, sliding above us. Slowly, wooden castles, recycled tires, and rows of buttercups stepped out of hiding to see God’s flaxen hair swing gently over the soccer field. Our hands fit together like zippers with bits of green pressed in the heart of our palms like petals drying into memory between pages.


April 28, 2010

On the fifteenth day of the rainy season, I was in the doorframe watching the mud pool in the garden with a Malboro in my hand.  I felt defiant, in a way that I knew to be ultimately small, to be a human—a goddamn human—who built the roof over his head and cheekily lit a cigarette as the rest of the world turned to mush, like pulp washing down cement rivers.

The echo of feet bounding inside found me and soon Rachel came to the doorframe with a jar and pail, her raincoat already on.

“Worms!”  She shook her head like that wasn’t what she’d planned on saying.  “Can I play outside?”  I told her sure as long as she stayed in the yard and away from the roses.  She leapt over slick flagstones and into puddles like it was the first and last day of her life and, throwing the butt into the rain, I tried to remember the last time I felt like that.


December 14, 2009

I collect dolls.  I’ve always thought about it as an action—like collecting stamps or coins or money form around the world.  It was the simple exchange of pay for dolls and it surprised me more than it did my friends when I realized I had a roomful of them within the first few weeks.  People would ask me why I collected dolls to which I would answer with why I like them instead.  I’d describe the odd way their glassy eyes had about them.  Opening and closing their eyelids is an action I never get used to.  It’s a kind of thrill, I suppose.  It’s like manipulating something frozen in time, something I’m not supposed to pose, but help somehow.  But Darcy, they would always shoot back with their eyelids predictably suspended under a diagonal brow, why do you collect them?—I like (something not analogous whatsoever here) too, but you don’t see me (absurd action that only Hitler would do)ing them!

I think I realized why I do it in the last couple of days, the same way a novelist will discover what they’re writing about halfway through a novel.  I think I collect them because they’re all children.  I know that sounds worse, but it’s a way for me to freeze my own childhood.  When I’m looking at a row of dolls I’ve posed, I’m not looking at the craftsmanship or the clothes; I’m looking at myself and how that doll makes me feel, how it makes me connect with something that was real, absurd, or terrifying.  With dolls, I can scatter and view my experiences in 3d in a way that is painfully tangible and wholly reflective of me.  I can rotate and zoom in on my concepts of innocence, my relationships, and my loneliness.  It is my own personal world.  It is my diary.  And, though I would never admit it, it is my religion.


October 15, 2009

“Because I’m a frog,” I would explain in reference to my essay where I used finger-paint instead of words.  But Mr. Slater, formally Jonathan, crouched down over his knees with the kind of incredulous look that had irritated authority knotted up in it.  The bundled disgust in his face made uneven lines, like veins, fold across his forehead.  What on earth possessed me to make up such a story, he asked.  “Because I have webby fingers!  Look!” I would say.  Everyone has the same fingers, he said, rolling his eyes.  “So maybe we’re all frogs!”  Danielle…—and here he would gesture with his fingers to look him in the eye—we’re just not frogs and that’s that; the whole idea is poppycock and even in poor taste of imagination.  “You just think that ‘cause you’re a frog and you don’t know any better.”  So I know I’m a frog.  And I’ll never believe anything he says otherwise.  Besides, he’s the one who said I couldn’t start sentences with conjunctions.


December 24, 2008

Thomas Reddington, with his fingers still prune-y from the steaming bathwater, threw open the glossy windows leading to the veranda draped in nothing but a blue towel and a guitar.  Outside, the cream walls enveloped him, cradling him atop the shiny, porcelain platform and with eyes half crazed and half wondrous, Mr. Reddington warmly shifted his gaze to the sea before him—the reason for buying the damned villa fifteen years ago.  The expanse of water lazily jaunted around the edge of the dentist’s consciousness as he wafted, still lulled by the dreamy cream.  Calmed by the ghostly hand of Mrs. Reddington stoking his hair, as she always used to do, Mr. Reddington let his limp hand fall and strike a chord.  Major, sweet, and unmoving it proved to be.  The waves lapped in as Mr. Reddington remained fixed on the sea (knowing the kettle was soon to screech) and before he turned in, back to his routine, back to his impassive smile that greeted the deluge of recent condolences, he noticed that to him, now, the sea sang not of its unfurling beauty, but rather a mysterious and unpromising utility.  He crawled back inside—his joint pains coming back to him all at once.