Personification Outside the Window
I crawl incredibly up your wall and pull the curtain back from the window to reveal a miniature grandstand and orchestra. The ladies and gentlemen of the audience have taken their seats and a foamy roar of pleasant whispers float above them in the lights. Men tired from a lifetime of five shows a night are seen moving about the stage in partial shadow. Bottles of antacid tucked in clarinet cases under their seats. Bows on strings tune and the snap of brass mouth-pieces call to the clatter of silver on the tables.
A spotlight falls on a well-dressed man with a well-sculpted mustache. His voice surrounds us, “Mr. and Mrs. Honored Guest, it is my pleasure to present to you, the cooling embers of our heart. The quiet sense of acceptance a moment before death comes. The waning pulse of humanity. Her elegance, the Icon.”
Gravity shifted toward the stage. I suddenly became aware of the music. Swelling sails of mournful wails rocking us in an inky sea. Velvet blacks pour into the room as the lights dim and she enters. Impossible drifts of hand written notes and lipstick stained napkins fell from her like an oak shedding leaves. Signed headshots taken ten years earlier caught in the gusts of her scarlet wake. She does not walk. She is simply there, and then there, and then there, until she arrives. In front of the microphone with her hands wringing by her waist, the band begins to blast harder with her breathing. Her eyes always behind her hand, her hair, or turned away. I want to see her eyes, but I don’t want her eyes to see me. The horns drop and a lone drummer signals her time.
It all falls away. The grandstand full of darkened marriages and last ditch attempts vanishes. The unobtrusive waiters become unobtrusive vapor. I feel her hand on the back of my neck and she sings with her lips an inch from my cheek. Her breath vibrates visibly between us, the merest membrane between myself and oblivion.
She sings, “Your call will break the silence.
I’ve all but gone with the day, in somnolence.
Fill the ashtray. Watch the curtain sway.
Just stay away. Just a room, just an island.”