Aftermath - The Florida Review
The holy place is here, crouched before the fan of white plastic. Morning coolness stirs the tiny hairs on your legs, the ones you forgot to shave in the shower last night. You can stand the heat of your hot coffee right now, you can almost stand the heat of your memories and the bruises they show.
You have a tiny house in a West Coast town. The name matters only a little. Your waist is still a small one; your body remembers the shapes of love. Your body may. Your mind cannot.
Once you thought of fame.
The thought has not penetrated your fog for years now.
Four years? Five?
How do you count the aftermath? In friends forgotten because you cannot bear their happiness? In jobs lost, opportunities floundered? Maybe in towns you tried and failed, or in classes you can’t attend, or in pancakes—tiny, or as wide as your face, stacked like fluffy amber coins with pools of copper syrup melting into the cresting waves of butter.
You do not think of violation. You do not think of it but it thinks of you. At night, before the coolness comes like a blessing, it thinks of you.
So now you crouch with the joy of morning on your face. You wonder how much longer, then you forget to wonder.
The holy place is here.