From this red block of pure substance we look toward sea, separated from it by tiny flakes of white paint. Some finger has stuck itself in the same pot to draw wave tops, a line quivering but unbroken. Doctors speak of low iron levels in the blood and say things, “a nice broth is what you need” “a good cut of meat”, while the strength of the soul goes unmentioned. Yet here we rest, Soul and I, knowing better. I talk to you as if I’m old and you’re innocent, and I keep a shell in my hand. We sit in the shell of the boathouse, and my body remains a shell for you, and nothing passes through my mind except that I want to write lines clean and new. The wave top looks like a dishcloth wrung out, and the speed I move is not the speed of the water.
Out of clay
Once I spent a few hours piling up everything I’d written in one place, everything that I thought was worth something. I was afraid of someone but didn’t want to just disappear, so I made preparations. But when the fear went away, the pile stayed where it was, a deformed monument, a pot retaining the image of all the other pots it had been during its process of making. Everything that had happened before the end of the laying of hands on clay, everything that is now both here and not here.
Eleven was always my number, the one on my jersey every year except the terrible season I wore six after losing a bet to a bigger girl. That was the same season we had eight or nine on the field every game against the opposition’s eleven, since our stars all injured themselves at the same time, and needless to say we took home no wins, even if on the back line I got plenty of exercise. Eleven has been in every one of my passwords, and I like it because it reminds me of leavened bread with lots of air in the dough, along with silly words like lalala, delight, elevate. It’s a joyful number, my eleven, in Roman numerals two. A pair of girls stick-straight, standing side by side like my sister and me, neither of us blessed with curves. Elevenses is the name of the British morning snack, the gentle opening vowel precisely the right tone for honey on bread and a cup of tea, and for scribbling something trivial and cheerful before the clock stumbles forward once more into grim single digits.