a snapshot of my mother
|She's swirling iced tea and wiping the lipstick residue off her lips-- doesn't want to scrape the waxy smudges off the dirty glass later. It leaves a purple smear in the corner of her mouth and on the back of her left hand. It is a vicious bruise seen at a distance.
Her eyes close and open. The world is a lazy teacup turned upside-down.
She's nauseous and disoriented. Maybe a little drunk. But only a little, enough to make her feel unhinged, listless. There's no giddiness to it this time.
The grass spreads out to meet her. It's cropped compulsively in perfect, sweeping lines. It is maybe too green. The sky, too, is overexposed, a tourist's bad photograph. It hurts her to look at. The atmosphere, the hard cloudless blue above, they press down on her eyeballs.
She's a fish gulping in air. It hits her lungs and it burns.
It happened, she thinks, when she forgot how to ask questions, how to spin the web. But it's hard to tell, when cause and effect seem to bleed together in impressionist confusion. She's a river running backwards.
Yesterday was a well day. Yesterday she was free. Connections spread from her, synapses firing outward, fission as life. The world was a body, and she hummed through the veins, the arteries, the backwater capillaries, drinking it in, intoxicated.
Today the world has been peeled back, stripped. It is too vivid, too hideous. It has spat her out like lukewarm water. She dribbles, fuzzy around the edges.
Her eyes are molten mirrors, and the world shifts and heaves before them, a red sea parted.