No Light. Tiny Warmth.
It was already noon on the second day when Jiggs
opened the purse of his mouth. Spitz walked three miles
with a lint sheet stuck to his trousers. By then
we had already met the witch in the cottage
(who had a larger collection of literature
than we thought useful). Something
she gave us glowed or protected and in addition
she burnt the pheasant. We spent the night by
the lake toward which all waters move. "This place
draws me like a wound," said Spitz. "Imagine
the sound of bees," said Jiggs. "Bees inside a felt
coat?" asked I. "On the underbelly of an iceberg,"
said Spitz, "those wings and that cold
flush." "Then why did we leave?" asked
Jiggs. "We left because unstuffed from us
came clumps of feathered veins because
our lives held all the creases but no form."
The third day possessed no roots. Spitz quickly
unearthed it and from its branches we cudded
what tree gum we could. For the first time a woman
chaffing wheat, etcetera, asked where we were going.
"My toes have the reach of an octave" said
Jiggs, hunched forward as though his arms hung
in twin slings. A cyclops encounter passed
the afternoon. That night we ate no rabbit.
Spitz told all the jokes he knew in twenty
minutes. We dreamt we waited for our mothers
while they shopped. I lifted the door lock
up and down. Jiggs pulled the ashtray in and out.
Spitz kicked the glove compartment. On day four
the light was gauzy and happily the harpy fiascos
minimal. What ones we met were love-marked
on the neck. Skeins of wool for hands. We politely
declined their touch but we desired it. "Bees
in a librarian's mouth," said Spitz. "Two thousand
traversing tapioca," said I. "Gun barrel," said Jiggs.
One of us met an enchantress. One of us, lost
in a cave, engaged a bat with arsenic fangs. Time
sometimes pressed tight like a belt, sometimes
stretched wide. In this accordion "I'm lonely
for loneliness," said Spitz to Jiggs (who
kindly rolled away). The fifth day a day
of pleasantries. "My how the sun shines
brightly," said Spitz. "Delightful. Just
look at the ocean. Tremendous." There was
no ocean but we threw our heads back
for the salt air arms wide as we'd seen done
in musicals. On that night we divulged
our lives in glances. "Show us where your eyes
fell at the birth of your son," said we to Spitz
and Spitz's eyes roved back and forth slightly
like an unmoored boat in the waves. "I miss
women with thick hair and the peach drapes
in the kitchen," said I. "Think," said Spitz, "Love
of your life asleep in the dark or love of your life covered
in bees asleep in the dark?" Like magnets we pulled
cotton hairs to our breasts without the use of hands, watched
the red leaves fall on our behalf. There was a sixth day
and a seventh. "Grief and bees in a light bulb," said Jiggs
and that was how we carried on.
- Kaethe Schwehn (from Transom)