Wednesday, October 12, 2005

we are presently debating flying or invisibility

What do you do when you can’t sleep, or don’t want to go to sleep, and it’s late night, or early, early morning, and all your friends on the east coast, which is all your friends, are asleep?

Once, your favorite living poet, on the porch, asked you: if you could have any superpower, what would it be? We are presently debating flying or invisibility.

You thought for a minute. Wind lifted your dress. Across the road, people were laughing, gathering on their porches. The clink of ice in glasses.

I would have the power to make anyone listen to me, you said. I would whisper across the field, and they would come.

Good one, the poet said.

The neighbors across the street have listened to me, to the sweet note I left on their truck in purple, girly handwriting, and stopped parking their massive, black, oil-leaking truck in my driveway. Small victories. I’ll start work again on the novel. I’ll leave the poems for later. I'll wear my gray sweater with the moth hole today.

The day before, the blonde child on the other side rang the bell, and handed me a picture when I answered: still wet, Welcome, with orange and green flowers. I tried to shake her hand in the mock formality I use with serious children, but she held up her hands, covered in paint.

What’s your name? she asked.
Ali, I said.
Welcome home, Ali, she said.

You go to sleep eventually and dream again of your wedding. Ridiculous. A white dress—never. Hair down and brown and curly—oh hateful, oh natural. Mismatched chairs from wherever. Outside it’s fall. Fall flowers, which are leaves. You walk down the aisle to a David Bowie song.

Okay, maybe.

Woke up this morning with a flurry of eyelashes on my cheek. I made many wishes.