Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's not polite

It's not polite, but I stare, mouth open at the unexpected freezing of time. A face in the crowded street can do that, evoke some pristine feeling and paralyze like electricity. I know the zap, the sudden shift in consciousness, the shortness of breath.

This face, though: eyes disproportionately large, speechless lips stained strawberry, a wisp of hair thrashing in the wind, rising from asphalt whiter than the snow. In this face, something of a flower's softness, but between the petals metal glints. The metal is jagged from living among the broken and seeking that familiar brokenness.

And me, am I content to go home and write, intoxicated with the gift of this image, this silly trinket? Do I place it with my other trinkets next to my bean-filled puppy? Next to the plaster cast of my forearm? Is that the cast of my forearm or my...

No, no settling today. If I'm going to stare, I shouldn't miss the point. This face belongs to a person, a young woman on her way home. But maybe first, she has to rouse Pa from his barstool, and in that bar of hardened lonely men, only a child could mistake her face for a gift. And at home there is a child, it's not talked about whose, who at some point during dinner will fling food at the wall. It will be a victory if he misses the pictures of Jesus, and there are many pictures of Jesus. Nothing riles Ma like having to wipe Spaghetti-O's off Our Savior's hands, feet, and side (why is it they always land that way?). And when Ma's riled, it's an unpleasant night for everyone, except for Pa, who would rather pass out than eat.

Later as the child sleeps, I imagine this face gazing down at him in the half-light, sleepy-eyed, without the lipstick, soft with a half-smile.

There, that's a nicer trinket. I'll put this one next to the conch shell.



Blogger Crys said...

Jesus Christmas.

You move me.

8:56 PM  
Blogger jorg wobblington lopez said...

You're Beautiful, it's true.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Excellent save.

7:47 AM  

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