“Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie.” ~
by the wind,
dropped down towards earth
like a used lead condom
a winter twig – unwraps
her skeleton – unzips
Bare, shameless, transmuted,
a first-fruit offering, quiet–still-glad,
on a rutted asphalt altar.
like a seed to be planted.
for the prophecy of spring.
It is near,
a huge red dragon-
four mechanical brooms,
scrubbing, erasing, rewriting history.
Eating microscopic bits
Of lemon rind.
the winter twig
to the insidious black tires
of a 460-pound street sweeper.
The driver never looks back.
An ambulance pulls into the emergency bay and stops, no sirens, no lights, no fuss.
Mariette wakes in absence-no hangover-no headache-no parched sweet pea breath. Just lack of want or need or hunger. This is fresh uncharted territory. This has never happened before. She has never felt human. An inaccessible womb cut off from life by razor sharp blows, she has never been anyone’s daughter, wife or mother and she is tired of being everyone’s girl, bitch, and whore.
A gurney with one squeaky wheel is abandoned in the sterile white corridor. There are others on the ward that make less noise.
Mariette, trunk-boughs-seeds naked, body cleansed lies prone atop the sky-blue comforter. Planted on the chevron silk fabric; still-staid-silent Mariette is a wordless apparition, a momentary vision hovering in a sunbeam. Her thoughts drift-float like daydreams, then plummet. She is frightened to stir, unsure if motion might dissipate this new version of self.
Paramedics transfer the patient from stretcher to gurney, strap her down and leave.
Mariette’s eyes fixate on the mahogany headboard – solid-ornate-secure. Her spirit like a puff of smoke flickers at the edge of an air filter, close to being imbibed forever. She discerns a full spectrum of light trickling through the window, blanketing the bed with warm rainbow colors. Mariette clings to the sunrise with her fingernails.
Two doctors huddle together over a large metal desk. They discuss the patient’s prognosis. What they say is not encouraging.
Yesterday, Mariette embodied a wasteland, replete with hops, malt and rye. A cheap construction of substandard materials, fragile aluminum, jaundiced fiberglass, with self-hatred flowing through her veins. Overloaded with no circuit breakers, her cheeks flamed red. This contrasted with the mud colored walls of her motel room, a pregnant space, heavy with a malodorous layer of Doral milieu.
She’s been there a month with graying hair bleached an unnatural blond. Her skin thin, loose and gray. Everything in her life gray. She ate oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A nurse pushes the gurney with the squeaky wheel into a small white room and bonds Mariette to a heart monitor.
Mariette basks. She basks at her image in the streak free glass, moonstruck femininity transformed. Her hair is long and wavy; her eyes vivid green. Untroubled Mariette reaches out and touches the mirror. Empyreal reborn, gone are the black circles that held up her eyes, the bruises flowering on her hips, and the deep keloid scar that read “bitch” carved into her thigh by an ireful beast when she’d overdosed on Xanax.
A doctor puts an oxygen mask over Mariette’s face. She gags. Her skin is yellow and blue.
Mariette floats back to bed in a bubble of imagination. She dreams of a Whirlpool fully automated washing machine with Tide and Clorox for grass stained knees, neat stacks of laundry sorted by color - reds, blues, and whites. She dreams of a Samsung microwave with a turntable for crispy evenly cooked bacon.
She envisages a husband that loves her and that she’ll love forever. He’ll bring pink Gerbera daisies and she’ll use grandma’s recipes; make meatloaf with gravy, and fresh green beans. For dessert they’ll go out for a double scoop of chocolate ice cream and life will be….
The nurse removes the heart monitor. Two doctors leave the ER discontented. One pats the other on the back.
Dandelion: Make a Wish and Blow. Mariette is facing the stars. They fall from the sky like snowflakes and she is still-staid-static. Bright lights flashing, she does not try to catch them. Mariette does not see.
Juncture: A critical convergence events; a critical point of time.
A dark haired man in scrubs wheels a body to the morgue. He parks it in a row of neatly aligned corpses. Each is covered with a clean white sheet, washed with Tide and Clorox.
The air is thin, frigid and grim. It does not matter. They are unperturbed, faces directed towards Heaven. They do not hear the large red dragon snorting, spraying the streets outside, erasing memories. The orderly is not bothered by gelidity or sound. His wife is baking meatloaf with gravy and steaming fresh green beans. He loves her and she’ll love him forever. He flips through the chart. He checks Mariette’s wristband and compares it with the entry. Signing his name on the paperwork, he turns and walks away. He does not look back.
editor's comments: When you're in the hospital, connected to a monitor or pump, you hear all the beeps and boops echoing outside in the halls and begin to believe you are connected to a huge, mechanical monster. Kinda like the Borg. - gh