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Words And Breath

Words And Breath image
Parent Issue
Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
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Agenda Publications
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There is a story I teil. It starts the summer you came to visit from Arkansas, long-time friend of my parents. You stayed a week, swam in the river, clambered up Battle Rock with me. You and your woman lover. That summer they say the county sheriff beat a hitchhikerto death, a thin white man with long hair and a guitar, then laughed the work faggot all over town. I watched my parents grow tight and silent: the word lesbian hovered and feil. Showed you the muskrat den, the best blackberry bramble, wanted you to live with me in my river valley. You waited until our house slept, milky way bright across the sky, to hold hands, follow curve of collarbone and hip, voices so full of Arkansas. II: Main Street I left that valley, found women in the city - touch and taste, words and breath - walked the streets as if they were logging roads. But when I go back to visit, Main Street from the Laundromat to Pitch's Tavem, past the Kar Kare Klinic, called the KKK, the women at the bank still know me. Their husbands are fishermen, pull crab pots and fill their boats with red snapper and ling cod when the salmón aren't running. I watch at the post office, pottery guild, Sentry's Market, wait for a lesbian to walk in, flannel shirt wom at the elbows, thin silver about her neck. Once I went with friends to the Two Finger's Bar, an hour north. Sunday is queer night, only the loggers wanted a fight. We danced, careful, not too close, tried to ignore their taunts, left after a single beer. III: River Rock Put an end to your wait: drive into the rain-drenched hills. The radio speaks machine gun fire, two women, their double-wide trailer, the metal walls speckled with holes. Only one of them died. Drive beyond the familiar clear cuts. Find the logging town, rickety as your own, where the woman who bags your groceries will smile and draw a map. Trees gray green in the winter light, you will find the women you have waited for. Faces worn and clear, hair spiked short, old smell of red cedar and garlic, they will lean into each other. Stay a month, hike the logging roads, split firewood, and sleep alone. Over dinner, teil stories solid as river rock.


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