we take a long drive. i want to show you the lights, she says. it’s christmas,
how could i have forgotten? she rolls all the windows down. i’m in the back
seat watching her hair blow back. each house in our neighborhood is lined
with red, green, silver, and blue stars—buckets of them not yet used burn bright
at the doorsteps. don’t you love it? at first i kept all of them up there, she twirls
a hand at the ceiling of the world, but look: we don’t have to be so lonely. the car
seat is plush, like clouds stuck to the back of my thighs. have i always felt so little?
the most intimate relationship you will ever have is with your body. i don’t know who
says this to me—it flutters in on the back of the wind. she parks the car. a hand
is pressed to my forehead. oh, you’re burning up, she says. i’m laid in a soft bed,
the covers lifted and tucked under my chin: my body is no longer mine to worry
about and that is the only relief, however temporary. in the middle of the night i hear
music. she sits at her vanity: the tubes of mauve lipstick, the lemon perfume, the tubs
of sweet smelling lotion all laid out, chocolates in their chocolate boxes, melting to the
touch. rays of light peel around her body somehow—but how? she is almost untouchable.
my circular narrative is an act of worship: it is as if i would be blinded should i look right at
her. yet her voice runs through the house like a cool stream: who told you that you were
naked? and she shaved the wool off of a sheep and she gathered the greenest leaves
and she placed it on the first woman’s body. i am just a bystander. not the first woman,
not the last. but still: i place my hand over her face, then look.