Wednesday, March 12, 2008

to her skin

I finger the white papers nervously waiting for some kind of response. I am going to be a writer, I have just declared, because it it’s true and somehow-important. But momma just sits there as my shadow ripples rapidly across her knees, into her lap and over her shoulders, repeatedly washing over her like a frantic, angry spirit.
Momma rocks more than any other mom I know. Some mom’s cook a lot, clean every day, or drive too much. My momma rocks. She rocks quickly with one foot always pressed flat into the ground and the other pointed sharply towards the TV. I swear she can see me, despite her lab-rat gaze and I am nearly certain she hears my trembling voice. Sometimes, if I wait long enough, (the human background to her methodical movements)- she will turn towards me with a snarled upper-lip to touch my hair or answer a question. Can I go to Roxy’s house I will ask and like a guinea pig, or some other round-eyed creature, she mumbles yes or no without breaking her transfixed stair towards the television. I am hoping for something, anything this time to encourage my latest discovery.
I am a writer, I think, silently this time.
The papers have begun to feel damp in my moist grasp. I hold them to my chest, where their glowing whiteness contrasts with my sun-beat skin. Startled by a spark of pain, I look down to see a bright red stripe spreading across my palm where I have accidently sliced my skin. The papers, a simple little book made of construction paper and pen, slip through my fingers, arms and elbows, as a surge of heat burns through my stomach towards my throat. The sheets of paper pause mid-air before gliding towards the floor into a dazzling parade of anemic checkers. I wonder if momma knows how much I need her to pick them up with me, how much I long for her to look at them and touch them to her skin, to her memory.
I slowly turn toward the television, where a country-music-singing cowboy sings of heartache and whiskey. My momma's chair sways back and forth in a subtle display of excitement, rustling my papers amidst the light waft of oak and disappointment.

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