Hot Prayers from Public Spaces
You're sweating vodka. I'm feeling Russian
now. Twisted shut eyelids like shellfish, closed, full
of enigmatic life. I almost can't understand your fish
talk. What is this caviar conversation? How absurd, I
think to myself. I'm only imagining the talking between us.
Our communication? Hah! You're only silent. Squinting
tight, kneeling, sweating.
What if you were a monk kneeling before exquisitely shaped
gold or view of unimaginable mountains--praying to the beat
of the wind chime or the bones in your hand you try to count and say
a new prayer for each. A monk on fire. Set yourself to flames.
Torching, praying by the pain--the deafening lack of thought
replaced with more sensible curling flesh and roasting holy
smell somehow transforms into sound, into sight also. Every sense
engulfed and made dumb. You are a senseless--first time so
meaningful--mass of the physical. The soul has left through the nose
as confining tiny hairs, such gentle skin glowed deep, bright.
So much pain and something else. It is--
They were unfathomable mountains. Snow, bright, spiders, silk.
Not that I am comparing myself to a holy illusion. Maybe your kneeling
here is not like a monk, after all. There was something so Himalayan
in the Russian image of you I conjured and, momentarily, replaced you
with. Russian because I smelled vodka and immediately thought of that
banned-in-Vietnam portrait of Putin, so demure in a lacy wedding gown.
Perhaps one could even argue that you are not really kneeling before me at all.
More like I saw you here on the ground, bent over, cocooning in your own form
and stood in front of you, suddenly feeling robe-and-crownish to watch
your silky, wet madness.
Jessy Murphy writes from San Antonio, TX.
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