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Two Pieces by Christine Taylor



Listen

Not the relentless rain that threatens to flood

Our home and wash us away, nor the wind

That rattles the windows, upends shallow

Rooted trees, forces us to board up windows--

It’s the whistling of air through the night

That chokes my breath, renders me silent

During the storm. Covering the ears helps little.

Besides, I know what’s coming: the sharp slice

Of words to carve patterns of doubt, the

Breaking of windows whose shards reflect no

Light. A moment of calm in the eye. And then

The howling, the barrage a dam for any

Reply. After the hurricane, we sort

Through broken branches, rake up the mess.

Sort of a Story about Obsession

Sure, life cuts, and I too have a collection of scars as precious as a little girl’s seashells tucked away in a satin-lined box. But I’m more concerned with the deliberate pain, the hoarding of tattoos & piercings, the itch to always have more. With my fingertip, I trace the black lines across my chest, the skull over my heart--I don’t try to know what that means. As the humming machine scraped across my flesh injecting a sub-layer of ink, I stared hard at the ceiling, a sweaty paper towel in my fist, and told myself I could take the heat, darts radiating from my core.

I’m a convincing author.

I tell myself this little fiction too when I sit in the piercer’s chair as she pulls from the autoclave needles and some sparkly new thing. She marks, gets her angle just right, asks me to take a deep breath. This is the moment I crave, the searing I-know-what’s-coming. The hollow needle claims a little piece of me. I have so much to give.

At this point, I should probably admit that I have a fascination with what hurts, a notion that resilience makes me more than I really am. And knowing that I can withstand the fire never leads to good decisions. How can I have faith if I can’t even trust myself with myself? Maybe you don’t give a shit, but after all, you’ve been listening, so hear this prayer:

Let me be a slow reveal.

These pieces originally appeared in Spider Mirror in August 2018

Christine Taylor, a multiracial English teacher and librarian, resides in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey. She serves as a reader and contributing editor at OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters. Her work appears in Modern Haiku, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Room, and The Rumpus among others. She can be found at www.christinetayloronline.com

Image by Linh Nguyen, found on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/aiw4dQ

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