I tell him what I think. I tell him she’s a bird and he says so I shouldn’t pick her up and I say no that’s just a wives’ tale myth don’t be stupid, just look at those rainbow crow black feathers, those cavernous eyes, just listen to that sunset sky slow violet cloud moving deep orange to grey-blue song—singing like a full grown girl in the bathroom when she thinks no one’s home, everything feeling like a woman, everything trying, small and vast and tacit, with finger-tipped world held at slender arm’s length.
He thinks for a moment and after another says yes, piggy-backing and I already regret the setup, she’s the almost white line across that sunset sky, deciding up or down, orange or blue, being both
—and the other thing she’ll be is gone just as fast, ghost-gone, I say, cutting in before the metaphors get too tired and I punch him on principle. We share a silent second thinking how swiftly she’ll make her idle withdrawal like we had the same little epiphany that it was all altogether presaged.
Silent second passed, and I tell him I think he should be careful with this one. He says he won’t harm her. I tell him I know. It’s not a matter of harm, he doesn’t seem like the harming type. And what type does he seem like, he asks, a sliver annoyed. The helping type, I say, the type that asks questions. And carries knives—of the cutting, cleaving sort, not the spreading. He does not respond to this, only looks at me, sliver expanding to a slice, and I know he’s waiting for an explanation, punishing me a little because he knows I hate having to explain, especially when I know he understands, or will, whether I say more or now or never or not.
Trust me on this, I say, extending my compromise, she’ll be all shook up over a raised voice, but quick to slit throats, she’ll fade in with a crash and a flutter or just as easily fade out with a brush of fingertips and a word-sought goodbye whisper. I tell him she’ll devour him and then consume herself for her foolishness in allowing him to carve her into the shape of his oh so glorious missing pie piece, anything to get her form back, any form, so long as it’s hers.
Again he gives me a look, not quite the same look, though, closer this time, without leaning, all eyes. You know why, I ask him like I’m telling, because I am. Because she’s not a type, he says, telling me first, after a few blinks and a slow breath, near-resigned and irritated, onto where I’m going. Right. And don’t make her one with all your type-questions, your this side or that questions, here or there, up or down, in or out, black or white cutting this way or that in black and white cuz you know as well as I that it’s all grey, except when it’s not, and that’s why you want to ask in the first place, to see if and how she’ll tell you when it is and isn’t as if there’s any such thing as stasis, hoping she’ll pin herself down for you since you can’t.
Let her be un-type, non-type, anti, I say, thinking I’ve either got him now or lost him entirely, no in-between, watching him lean back and look away like he does when it’s sinking in and he’s silently deciding its fate.
Questions are for replies, not for answers or explanations—don’t know how many times I have to say that. Don’t try to cut her open and get inside and see how it all works and pick up all the strange and delicate and electric-charged nuclear rotten bejeweled beautiful things strewn, hunting and gathering and tomb raiding in the name of love or whateverthefuck you want to try to call it. There are other ways to see the whole, anyway. He tells me he sees, anyway. I tell him, anyway, he doesn’t know what sight is, just watch her gloomy condor eyes, wings stretched wide back across space and time to now-extinct unfathomable spans, and think again of what wholeness means.
Have the strength to walk through and look and touch and if you have to pick something up, put it back down where you found it, I say, back where you fucking found it. And if you have to pick her up, put her back down where she’ll be found, stranded safely on her planet, not yours.
He nods at this and I see I lost him, he’s already gone ready and all gone to run off and do his best to ruin what he desires, no idea why, no why idea and no need for one since I clearly see he’s clearly got his just because.
I tell him… nevermind. I’m done. He just can’t leave it alone and I’ll be here when he is. Soon enough, soon enough.
The sun’s gone down and another beer for each. We sit there looking at nothing and I realize I’m the only one still thinking about her, thinking it’s strange I’m trying to look like I’m not while he’s trying to act like he is.