On my artist's body.
|There is a woman at work who picks at her arms. It bothers me when I notice, the idea of her teaching elementary classes and coming here for her second job, finding time in between to be forty-something and pinning her dead blonde hair back with a pretty wooden clip and the roots still showing. She does, there are lines of scabs on her aging arms when she cuffs up the sleeves of her soft denim jacket, I've noticed them since training.
There is me putting on a play of fingers & thumbs on his back when he reads his newspaper. He doesn't even flinch and I wonder about that. I wonder about this, too, about when he closes his eyes and when I feel him break out in sweat on his back and I want to cry because everything is just so happening. Everything is right now, happens all the time but only right now is it really happening.
"Well," and clears his throat, never even looks up from his painting. "It's like this:"
And what I get from this is that it is an experiment in the process of healing "the art of healing" he says "only physical." His body stands in grocery lines and sits in movie theaters and no one knows he's breathing, walking, flowing art. He says.
There is me taking off his shirt for the first time again, the only time it was really happening.
There is him, strong this time, a man of waiting, of "I will wait for you" his woman "to love me." And I do, I do, I can't be full of this can't stop doing this, touching this arms and this ribs and this hands that made the art I'm pawing over. Finger over finger laced, unlaced, open the church and see all the people.
There is the woman at work asking me how my boyfriend and I are doing. There is me slaving so obviously over lines and red lines and puckered circles all over like polka dots like cigarette lighters in cars.
There is me with tears, you with weft and warp: pink lines, the color of new skin growing in the ground you tended for it to live in, the color of the skin that God gives.
These are not cigarette lighter circles. These are not broken razor kitchen knife slashes.
This is buying art supplies for painting, sketches, sculptures, skin. This is a certain time and a certain place. This is concentration, this is intelligence, real intelligence, making the most of what you have. It is Fireflies on the Water, Madonna on the Rocks, The Red Room. It is standing in line at the grocery store milk for your mother and riding your bike and listen to nothing, the wind dragging you home by the ears.
I know, I know, I know people don't understand you. I know I know that you're working, not crying, not hurting yourself.
There are girls in some of my other classes who pull their pill bottles out of their sweater pockets to silently gloat over illnesses that do not exist.
There are girls wearing t-shirts on purpose.
There you are, laughing beautifully and clearing your medicine cabinet into a trash can. There is you, opening your fists and unhinging your jaw and screaming at the sun to pick you up and take you away. There are your teeth shining in the November, there are eyes opening as a scream is ending.
There is my mother with the lightest of marks on her stomach from when I screamed because I could breathe for the first time. There are women who will never have children, extending their arms too far when they explain pregnancy.
My hands couldn't touch all of it, I lost my place and fell into you.
"You have time, you have time" he said. "It belongs to you. It's for you."
There is the sun lighting up every pink valley of brand-new skin, coming through every strand of hair, turning them red and brown.
This is me: "Oh, God, how could I have lived without having seen this first?" This is a kiss. This is a prayer. This is me touching a canvas, a body. This is saying "Hi" instead of "nice to meet you."
Nice to meet you. We will not call you "scars." We will call you "sincerity," "you're welcome," and "nice to meet you."