Paint over wall-splatter on the kill-floor and certain patterns arise: Spiders, the Florida peninsula with all its lakes, my grandmother's wrinkled hands. After the kids have been put to bed, I pull out a notebook, put the patterns down as best I can.
Some tell the future by examining entrails. Examining what's in the stomach will tell you something about the land around you. I draw lung bronchi, broccoli, veins inside a bulging eye, molars of a sow, a pair of dice.
When the wind shifts south, slaughter-smell crosses the river, stings the eyes. It burrows into the skin, into my closed-eye bathroom thoughts. It's stronger out here than when I'm down on the kill-floor.
Inlets and the branching creeks across the back of a leaf, the willowy currents around knots of wood, seams of coal, the levels of a sagging wedding cake: A trail. I dip my brush in the bucket of whitewash, make a long stroke with one side of the brush, make a long stroke with the other, cover it all up.
Something's been circling over the river these past few nights. It's no bird. I paint walls in the morning, draw patterns at night. I am trying to keep it from coming through one of the windows. The scream it makes is the scream that comes between the first and second blow.
|August 2009. Copyright 2River. Please do not use or reproduce without permission.|