the currents that run through me

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mostly because it’s so cold out, and the only color is grey, and i don’t want to be here.

“c’mon, woman. time to get up,” he says, gently spanking me.

the subsequent sounds as pulls on his pants, zips up his fly, fastens his belt.

i’m curled around my own torso, snuggled too deep beneath.

i have no intention of taking his words under advisement.

we are in all ways dissimilar.

this is his hometown. which means he grew up here. lived here for years.

how did he withstand it? when it makes me feel like this?

i am at times suffocated by the amount he is able to tolerate.

he raises the blinds with one swift pull on the dirty string cord, and the snowglare lights up his sweet moonface.

“up,” he says, catching me peeking at him.

he’s a soldier. life is like this for him. structured. scheduled.

easy.

i’m not like that.

there are all of these currents that run through me.

“my folks are going to find it strange if you don’t come down,” he tries.

my best bet is lying quiet and still.

being careful not to speak my mind.

if i say anything when i’m like this, he’ll be able to find a loose thread in my thinking, and he’ll pull on it until  i’m all the way unraveled.

he’s smarter than i am with his head. has logic. thinks he can solve anything.

he says this to me a lot —”there’s no problem that i can’t solve”—as though the mere saying of it is solving a problem in itself.

he’s smarter than i am with his head. has logic.

but he doesn’t even begin to understand what happens in the shadows.

as soon as we got here, i felt unseen fingers lurch at me.

he didn’t tell me about the low sky, about the wobbly old house where his parents live.

about the grimy playing cards on the table, the stale candy in the bowl.

there are all of these currents that run through me.

i feel him standing over me. he pets my natty hair, leaves the room.

he never gets mad at me, this one.

never yells, never throws his fist through walls.

“calm, cool & collected is my signature move,” he told me, when i asked where he keeps putting his anger.

“that’s not really an answer,” i wanted to tell him, and “what you’re saying doesn’t make sense,” but it wouldn’t have made a difference.

instead i asked, “but when are we going to get to your freak-outs?”

“never. we’re never going to get to my freak-outs.”

and so far, that’s been true.

i try to return the favor by not asking to be understood.

we are in all ways dissimilar.

muffled words spoken through the floor below me.

and then he laughs loudly, i’m sure at his own joke.

the snarling teeth recede a little, but i shouldn’t have come here.

i feel damned, eternal.

like the rust stain in the sink’s basin.

but worse. worse. worse.

i carefully pull back the covers and place my bare feet on the splintered wood.

tiptoe to the window, dragging the blankets behind me like a sleepy bridal train.

he told me that they’re going to church. apparently that still happens in places like this.

i watch them head out to the chrysler.

his mother with a plastic kerchief on her head.

he opens and closes the car door for her, gives the hood two raps. they drive away. he stays.

it’s so curious, seeing him here.

not knowing if he belongs to it or not.

soon, he climbs the creaking stairs back up to our room.

in the doorway he stops, runs a hand over the top of his head.

his hands are wide. twice the size of mine.

he’s more substantial i suppose. all the way around.

i stare at him.

we are in all ways dissimilar.

eventually he grabs his shirt by the the back of its collar, pulls it off, drops it to the ground.

walks over and kneels down in front of me.

his large hands wade through the blankets until they find my bare skin. he slides my panties aside and buries his face between my legs.

then it’s just me and his broad shoulders.

there are all of these currents that run through me.

~

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