Monday, May 02, 2005

what it is like

I have four chapters left to write in the novel, and they are a long slide down. I have been waiting to write this part for over a year, ever since this project first started in my head, on a train from Chicago to Kalamazoo; a line plucked out of the air whispered to me like the brown curl I tuck behind my ear.

Now that they are upon me, I regard them, these eighty odd pages, suspiciously from across the river. I am standing on the dock with a rope in my hand, dressed inappropriately for fog in a plaid dress and high black boots. I always thought someone would buy me a piano, present it at a birthday party, the surprise ruined when the truck rolled up. I always thought someone would call me to the window with fireworks: my name burned in grass on a hillside, my name scripted in spark.

Once someone wrote our names in cement. Once someone threw rocks at my window. But that was a long time ago. Now I wait for the gray to burn into spring. I sit at my desk in a red velvet jacket and think about starting to write. I think about going down into darkness, down into trouble. There is no dark like cave dark, like when the park rangers flicked off the guide lights in Mammoth Cave.

See what it is like, they said.

It is by turns freezing and stifling, like a light flicking on and off, like a lover changing his mind.