I Go

 Photo Credit: Joe King. Licensed cc-by-nc.

Photo Credit: Joe King. Licensed cc-by-nc.


Alone, you step off the train after Palo. Palo stops before his house, the gravity of which you feel, and as the chugging train pulls out stands tall to breathe and feel the sun’s light on his bare chest, which you feel too on your bare chest, the slow warming of your heart. You hear the sucking sound as Palo removes his head from the grouse cavity and the whoosh then thud as he lets it go and the limp wings do not slow its fall or ease its impact. You kneel down to pick up the ex-grouse because it could be a face, your face, a face for you who does not know your face, who knows a hollow grouse better than your own face, and as you fit your head in the grouse and feel the warm flesh slip over your forehead Palo puts his old stoneless yellow knit hat the color of baby poop on his head because though he will enter his home naked his head is suddenly cold and so he will enter his home naked but for his hat and his logger boots, his boots are who he is, his hat and his boots define him, what good could he be to Reb barefoot, he would be invisible to her, he would not be himself. And while you are down on your knees you smell the hyacinth and hear the bees and touch a tulip smell a tulip feel a tulip, no, you see tulips, you who cannot see sees tulips, you cannot see but you can see in your head, you use your imagination, more than imagination, bright bursts of tulips, red yellow pink orange variegated purple impossible black white-striped petals and sepals, three of each, all six tepals, forming the half-ellipsoid shell, the empty dyed egg cupping nothing but six stamen encircling a three-lobed stigma dangling atop a style rising from a three-chambered ovary, spreading in waves of waves of fields of tulips and you think, I should pick some for Reb because she deserves something besides infidel you, raccoon crotched and grouse headed and there were no flowers to be had in the city or perhaps there were but you were unaware due to the distraction of all the bad guys no there are no bad guys due to being so bent on your purpose of returning home to Reb and presenting to her your failed love that you missed the hawkers the vendors the market for flowers but this, this is something at least, a peace offering, a display of affection, a display of how much your feet hurt and the sun on your chest no, Reb, the children, do no lose sight of them, a show of what is important, a thought of them, and you reach out and pick flowers for Reb from her front yard with Palo’s hand and you pick as many as Palo’s hands can hold and then stop picking and then pick a few more and then stop again not because of a lack of tulips or love for Reb but because your hands are full, can hold no more, which is your limit, and you listen to the grind of the dirt of the front walk under your boots and the beat of wings at your ears and the chafe of your upper inner thighs from all those miles caressed by pelt and the clack of tiny carnivorous teeth and the thud of your heart treading the steps and the creaking and bending boards and the railing paint flaking in your hand and the chickens clucking in the rear and the morning glory enveloping the old Toyota truck on cinder blocks and the swaying of the plastic door of the plastic toy house in the gentle breeze and the fading of a derelict plastic toy kitchen in the sun and the expectant open generosity of a plastic training potty wanting to be used to teach to be productive to be filled and the crunch of innumerable unidentified plastic toys underfoot and your and Palo’s knuckles together in unison no not in unison as one rap at the door, which makes you feel awkward, knocking on the door of your own home, but awkward is what feels right for you come as a stranger to your house, but you feel worse than a stranger, you feel intrusive, like a proselytizer or a salesman who does not want to be a proselytizer or a salesman but who does it anyway, who demeans himself out of a sense of duty or for money to eat or to satisfy some ethical convolution or in the service of a twisted redemption, selling yourself to eat and your God to feel better. You decide you will not sell yourself, you will give yourself. You will ask for nothing in return, maybe you will ask for forgiveness, no no no, how could you, you will ask for nothing. You decide you will present yourself as a stranger with tulips, as a person these people you love once knew, as one who loves them and has hurt them, as a plastic training potty, whatever use your decisions are, which may not be much, but which may be all you’ve got besides boots and an eviscerated raccoon and an evacuated grouse. There is no answer from the door. You grasp the handle and turn and open. You go in your home. You come out of the sun. You begin to end a very long walk.

* * *

Thank you thank you thank you oh please God thank you.

* * *

A gasp.

* * *

Now what?

* * *

Many gasps.

* * *

I mean, what now?

* * *

Your eyes adjust. It is cool.

* * *

I don’t know how to begin cleaning this up.

* * *

You are blind. Your mind adjusts.

* * *

The muck and stench of my fidelity.

* * *

Dozens and dozens of little feet pitter away.

* * *

My wife my children my life.

* * *

Somebody else enters who smells a lot of flowers and a little of chicken shit.

* * *

Your husband or wife or significant other or partner or lover. Your love. Yourself.

* * *

The eyes belonging to the feet are not gone away. They are in hiding behind curtains under the couch peeking out over big open books they pretend to read ears pressed to bathroom doors watching listening becoming.

* * *

I — I have to go. I’m so sorry. I just must go. I’m sorry for what I did to you, what we did together, I hope you enjoyed it, at least on some level, as an experience, or at least found it engaging, something, anything, that I was worth it, but I cannot be near myself anymore, which is no reflection on you, you were wonderful, are wonderful, thank you, I felt, feel like, am more than myself for a moment, but I, who am I, I give you this story as a gift, a sadgift, it’s not mine to give, it’s Palo’s, but I give it to you anyway, it’s yours, you bought it, it’s all I can leave you, except this godawful mess, I must go home, I don’t know if repairs are conceivable or what they will cost or if it has been totaled but I don’t have insurance and I’ve already given you everything I had to give which is how we got into this slop in the first place, I’m sorry if I destroyed anything of yours in the name of love, in the name of a created world, but I don’t know where I am, where do I go, there are no holes to crawl out of or into, it is all one big hole I go blind seeing, I go saying, I go.