The moon is made of cheese. Such is a popular truth made famous by Don Quixote, a monk living the 13th century known for his contributions to the studies of chivalry and astrology. On the tenth day of any lunar cycle, when the moon is at its zenith of cheesiness, a man living on the easternmost region of the moon begins his process of eating the cheese, therefore causing the slow depletion of the moon’s face. Therefore, on the tenth day after the tenth day of the first cycle, the man finishes the moon, leaving the sky bare fore the span of one breath. Then, the breath having been breathed, the man resumes his toils, collecting the nearby stars and comets (which were later confirmed as also being man of cheese by the astrological explorer Marco Polo) and thus slowly rebuilding the mass of cheese that is the moon. Such has been confirmed and reconfirmed by the scholars of the 8th and 9th Restorations and have since been accepted as fact.
Every day in autumn and spring, their little girl would skip up the sidewalk from the bus stop, her purple and white butterfly backpack bouncing behind her. She always came through the green front door to say hi to her mother before heading straight for the back door.
“How was your day?” Mother would ask. She would reply, “Fine.” By fine, she really meant, “same as usual,” but then she never told her mother much about her “usual” day at school. Every day she’d ride the grimy yellow school bus 543 to her school, a low building spread out like an X. She’d shuffle reluctantly into to her colorful class with cutouts of fish and inspirational posters, and she’d sit to read silently while the other kids participated in reading out loud, “A… bird… flew… on… to… a… lamp… post.” At recess, she would wander off by herself, sometimes watching the other girls play games like “house.” She had tried to play with them once. She found the game boring and clichéd, and the girls found her weird. She wanted to play games with adventures and troublemaking goblins. The girls have avoided her since then.
“Do you have homework?” Mother always called. Most times she was found sitting on the dull blue sofa in the living room reading, or in the kitchen with her afternoon tea.
“I’ll do it outside,” was always the answer before the girl entered the backyard.
Their backyard was a lavished garden boxed in by a low, black fence with spear tips. Beds of white summer snapdragons accompanied by baby blue eyes, pink balsam circled by yellow evening primrose, and silvery dusty millers framing the violet beauty berries were separated by stone pathways. Along the fences were red roses, puffy hydrangeas, and a few dogwood trees that developed elegant maroon and indigo leaves in autumn. Flower pots of red and gold blood flowers, miniature roses, and signet marigolds were scattered along the pathways. At the very center of this expensive paradise was a small fountain with a statue of a naked angel, his arms cradling a bottle of champagne from which the water spilt.
Angel had curly hair and chubby, cheerful features. His fountain was circled by a bed of pink bleeding hearts and low marble benches. Every day the little girl sat down on the bench directly in front of the statue. She’d sit with her back to Angel to do homework, or she’d face him and talk to him. Angel had lots to tell her. She liked to tell her parents at the dinner table the jokes and stories Angel told of the world inside his stone shell. Mother would smile, asking, “And what did Angel say next?” or “How is our angel this evening?” Father on the other hand always sat silently, chewing forcefully on his food hoping to ignore his daughter’s excitement over an imaginary friend.
Sometimes the child would take out paper and colored pencils to draw with her angel. He liked to pose for her. Other times she would bring out cards, imagining Angel was playing with her. She’d sometimes take her baby doll out with her to play with in the garden before the angel. She liked to pretend Angel was blessing them both with fantastical powers. A lot of the girls at her school played with baby dolls too, but even though their daughter had a cute, lacy doll, she wasn’t friends with any of them.
Every evening, Father would walk in through the front door, kiss Mother hello, and go straight to the back door to watch his little girl. He never went out into the garden to say hi. The beauty of the garden would slowly disintegrate as he watched his daughter talk eagerly and play with no one. He’d rub his temple and stare uneasily at the angel. That grin wasn’t cheerful at all to Father. He’d shake his head and walk away, afraid to interrupt his child’s play.
One evening after dinner he turned to Mother and inquired, “What’s wrong with our daughter?” She looked up from her wine and cocked her head, “What do you mean?” He waved his hand, “She always goes outside and talks to that fountain. Meanwhile she doesn’t talk to anyone at school like that. What’s wrong with her?”
His wife sighed and relaxed her shoulders, “My Lord, there’s nothing wrong with her. It’s normal to have imaginary friends.”
“She’s seven,” Father persisted. His wife just shook her head, “There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just a game. At least she’s outside.”
Father closed his eyes and pressed his hands against the dining table, “I had a nightmare last night.”
“I know,” Mother chuckled good-naturedly, “You woke me up.”
He rubbed the back of his neck, “Our daughter was playing in front of the fountain again. But then I think her games and the angel started coming to life. It’s like our world morphed into hers. God it was creepy! The angel’s eyes lit up and he was giggling. It was like an angel out of hell.”
His wife sighed, “You’re overreacting.” If he heard her, Father didn’t say. He instead headed for the stairs, ending the conversation, sorry he started it. Mother looked down into her wine calling after him, “It was just a dream. Nothing bad will happen.”
There are monsters in the dark, he thinks as he curls up for the night, his fiery gold eyes wide open. He glances this way and that, waiting for something to jump out at him and scream in his face. A storm cracks the sky open with light and explodes outside. He flinches, ready to call for his mother. He doesn’t though. He hears a creak and a pop inducing him to shut his eyes tight. He trembles as his spiky tail curls securely against his nose, accidentally pinching it. He squeaks but keeps his eyes shut. He decides he doesn’t want to see what is lurking around to gobble him up like the creatures sung in stories and cruel jests. But the monsters he sees behind the curtain of his scaled eyelids are just as bad, perhaps worse.
They wear no scale armor or fur mantles. They have no wings, no horns, nothing. They’re sickly bare and skeletal. They’re pink and brown and everywhere in between. Their eyes glint like sparks as their faces crinkle, their mouths opening and screaming. They stand on their hind legs while their forelegs extend into metal blades. They decorate their bodies with their dead prey.
He opens his eyes and cringes, expecting to see something looming over him, arms outstretched with curling fingers. Shadows of ghouls dripping slime and goblins with pointy heads flash off the stony cave walls. Everything is black and blue as rain creates a silvery sheet outside. Lightning flashes. He sees a black figure behind the white light standing on its hind legs. It wears a long sheet around its neck and extends its forearm into those metal blades he’s learned to fear. He scurries backwards on his belly, hunching himself closer together like a spring. Lightning flashes again making him flinch. He sees another shady monster behind the white illumination reaching out for him. He closes his eyes but sees two glowing spots. He’s certain they are narrowed eyes. He opens his eyes again not knowing which monster to be more afraid of— the imaginary ones behind his eyes, or the imaginary ones outside.
With another trick of light, he sees shadows on the walls, some five times his size with giant jaws and round heads. Some roar with hunger. Some are small but appear in horrible irritating clusters. He hears squeaks like a witch’s laughter which makes his fangs chatter. The cracks on the cave wall form an angry dark eye he wishes would stop staring at him.
He feels sticky and cold, breathing heavily with whimpers. His heart rate speeds up while his eyes water. He finally throws his head up and lets forth a piercing, raspy roar for his mama.
A family of mice scatters at his cry, two of them running in circles before finding a new hiding spot. One however is blinded by a flash of lightning and stops right in front of him, shivering and staring wide eyed.
He sees the furry little rodent and wants to cry. The rodent and the winged lizard stare at each other, one of them trembling with fear while the other is frozen with remorse. There is a rustle from the other side of the cave. Mama dragon is up having heard her baby’s cries. The mouse finds the will to move and scurries away from the potential predator. Mama dragon drags herself closer to her little one and her clawed hand slithers around him, pulling him close to her breast. She lays her long neck around him so her face is right next to his.
“Why so afraid?” she hisses.
“The monsters are back,” the baby dragon whimpers. Mama dragon snorts, her eyelids drooping with sleep, “There are no monsters here. If anything, we’re the scariest thing there is. Just ask that mouse. Now go back to sleep.”
“What about the naked two-leggers with metal arms?” the baby dragon asks looking up at his mother. Mama dragon sighs drowsily, “They don’t live around here. They won’t catch you. Go to sleep.”
Mama dragon’s scales are rough and warm like worn leather armor. Her three fingered hand is roughly the size of his entire body. Her wings drape forward, shielding him from the cold and horrible tricks his eyes play on him. He turns around to nestle his head against her breast before settling down, pressing against her. He finally falls asleep, dreaming away the monsters on the opposite side of his reality.
We were all told to stand in front of the steps that lead to our front door. All five of us and my mom. She looked like an aviator that day. She was ready to fly away as soon as the picture was taken. She had a pink and purple chiffon scarf wrapped around her neck, tied in a knot that was cocked just a little to the side; she was wearing a cone-bra, a pale pink cotton shirt, a brown wool jacket – I never liked this jacket, it always irritated my cheeks when I would rub against it- and cream colored cropped slacks. I clung to the sateen fabric of those slacks. My hand was wrapped just by her knee. She was carrying Joanie in her arms so she kept saying, “Nina, let go. You’re going to make me trip.” When we reached the sidewalk Dad told us to line up in order of age. Mom sat down on the concrete stairs and we gathered around her. Susan, Theresa, Mom (holding Joanie), Cathie, and me.
The breeze that day kept sending Cathie’s long blonde hair to my face. It was like straw whipping me on my cheeks, and getting between my lips. I kept spitting the long strands out of my mouth, and wiping them with my hand…but her hair wouldn’t stay away from me.
“Stop pulling my hair!” Cathie snapped. She turned toward me with her blue-green eyes narrowed and tucked her hair behind her shoulders.
The breeze also brought the smell of patchouli. Mom had dotted the essential oil on her wrists this morning. She hardly ever wore this scent. It had been a gift from her sister, my aunt Kathleen. Aunt Kathleen knew all about that kind of stuff. She sold essential oils, incense, and candles on the street in San Francisco.
The smell of patchouli is Earthy, and somewhat sweet. I loved it. I wished Mom would wear it more often, but she favored heavy perfumes. I didn’t like those perfumes, I could taste them in the back of my throat more than smell them. But patchouli was different. It wasn’t intense, and I could smell the Earthy/sweet smell as opposed to taste it.
“Okay! Everybody ready?” Dad held the camera up to his right eye. He had to push his glasses on to his forehead in order for the camera to be close enough to him.
“One…two…three…” I let my teeth show when I smiled. I always thought that people looked happier when their teeth were showing. I knew Cathie wasn’t smiling. She never smiled. Smiling made her nose spread. I never knew what she meant by that. Butter spreads, not people’s noses.
“Smile!” Dad pressed his finger to the button on the top of the camera. There was an audible click at the exact same time at the flash. It wasn’t too bright because we were outside, but I could see the small white light as he snapped the picture.
“There’s honey-dipped donuts in on the kitchen table,” Dad said as he stood. We all squealed with delight. It was always perfect when Dad brought home baked goods.
“I stopped by Fenwick on my way home today.” He barely finished his sentence before we were all scampering into the house.
CLOVER. (schreeching) IGGY! Iggy! Come back here, goddammit! Get the hell back here!
IGGY. Fuck off, Clover.
CLOVER. You fucking loser, Iggy, you should’ve seen his goddamn face!
IGGY. Give me a break.
CLOVER. His beautiful face!
IGGY. Oh yeah?
IGGY. You wouldn’t know beautiful if it crash-landed on your face –
CLOVER. Such an asshole –
IGGY. – and made a nest there. Started a beautiful family.
IGGY. What do you care, Clover?
CLOVER. His face is beautiful. It’s those wrinkles. And you’re completely awful to him.
IGGY. He’s awful to me.
CLOVER. No he isn’t! He hasn’t done a thing to you!
IGGY. Says you.
CLOVER. You sound like such a child. I’d never say those words to my old man.
IGGY. You’re right. You’d say something worse.
CLOVER. I’m serious Iggy, you’re really being a little bitch to him. It’s not his fault, you can’t blame him forever for the stupid problems you invent.
IGGY. Maybe I don’t blame anybody.
CLOVER. You’re infuriating.
IGGY. Clover. I’m being honest. Run along and play, I want to be alone.
CLOVER. That’s not how it works. I’m not your conscience, you can’t just dismiss me.
IGGY. (laughs) If only it were that easy.
CLOVER. I’m so mad at you I could hang you with that scarf.
IGGY. One of these days I might take you seriously –
CLOVER. Oh, now that would be the day, wouldn’t it?!
IGGY. — and file a restraining order. They’ll lock you up good and tight.
CLOVER. You think I’m the crazy person? Seriously? You think it’s me?
IGGY. You wear the perfect costume for crazy. Green and gentle Clover, who knew you could curse me up a tree? Neat little Clover, I can’t believe it.
CLOVER. Shut up, Iggy.
IGGY. Careful little Clover, who folds her laundry and recycles.
CLOVER. Shut up.
IGGY. It’s what your Grandma would say. Then faint down into a wizened old puddle and we’d have to dump her in the lake or Ginger’s water bowl. Ginger might develop a sudden, lethal taste for stewed prunes.
CLOVER. (A little bit humored, she can’t help it) You say the stupidest things.
IGGY. I learn from the best.
CLOVER. I can’t tell if you’re trying to be funny or cruel.
IGGY. What do you want me to be?
CLOVER. (hesitates) Funny.
IGGY. Yeah. You’re good at that.
CLOVER. Stop touching me. I’m really mad. I’ll never be not mad again.
IGGY. You’ll never be not mad?
IGGY. Me either.
IGGY. Your elbow is cold.
IGGY. Your elbow, it’s an icicle.
IGGY. So you’re turning into the ice queen.
CLOVER. I don’t get you, Iggy, stop rubbing my sweater, you’re going to make it all picked at –
IGGY. Soon enough, your blood will freeze and harden to the bone. The muscle will shrink together and cease to move. Next the hairs on your skin will stand up and fall off, and you’ll turn real blue. Then you’ll stab me through the heart with your frosty spear.
CLOVER. My what?
IGGY. Your elbow. Are you deaf, dear?
CLOVER. You say the stupidest things.
IGGY. You’re killing me.
CLOVER. Why are we even here, Iggy?
IGGY. Ah. The ever-relevant question.
CLOVER. I get the impression you’re just fucking with me, as usual.
IGGY. We’re all being fucked with.
CLOVER. Why are we at the lake, Iggy?
IGGY. Well, I know why I’m here, but your presence is inexplicable.
CLOVER. Why’d you run here?
IGGY. To this moment?
CLOVER. To this lake, to this goddamn lake.
IGGY. I’m surprised in you, Clover. I’d imagine even you had a softspot for the lake.
CLOVER. There’s nothing soft about it.
IGGY. That’s one of the most intelligent observations you’ve made all day.
CLOVER. (ignoring him) It scares me when it’s iced over, you know that.
IGGY. I didn’t exactly send you an invitation.
CLOVER. When everyone trampled over it on skates and socks and bicycles, I was … petrified, watching them. They could be gone in an instant. Like snapping off a light switch.
IGGY. Even light switches need a rest.
CLOVER. It could all go so easily dark.
IGGY. What can I say, Clove, that I haven’t said already, during all the seconds of all the days? What can I say about the cruelty of lakes?
CLOVER. Nothing, I guess. I expected you to say something.
IGGY. Don’t be afraid.
CLOVER. It’s like, it’s waiting. I just get this weird feeling. It just gives me the creeps.
IGGY. It won’t hurt you unless you want it to.
CLOVER. I want it. I want dying to hurt. It would be scarier if it didn’t. That’s what you’re getting at, isn’t it?
IGGY. You think too much of me, love.
CLOVER. I know.
IGGY. You’re not angry at me.
CLOVER. Yes I am.
IGGY. You’re angry at yourself for settling your expectations on me.
CLOVER. No, Iggy, I’m angry at you.
IGGY. No you’re not.
CLOVER. Yes I am. You can be better.
IGGY. We can all be better, if you think that way. Go find another project. I’m tiring. I’m tired.
CLOVER. You’re not sensitive.
IGGY. Yes I am.
CLOVER. (Pause) Yeah. I guess you are.
(They sit in silence for a minute. Clover is endlessly rubbing her arms through her thin sweater and Iggy is turning sticks on their heads in the snow.)
IGGY. Wanna hear a story, Clover?
CLOVER. Is it a long story?
IGGY. What does that matter?
CLOVER. It’s freezing , Iggy.
IGGY. Freezing the rain into snow.
CLOVER. I know how snow works, thanks. You should just tell me.
IGGY. No, it’s not a long story.
CLOVER. Not that – tell me the story.
IGGY. Alright, I will.
(Iggy closes his eyes and says nothing.)
CLOVER. What are you waiting for…?
IGGY. The temperature.
IGGY. The right temperature. This is close. When I was a kid, I fell asleep here, at the frozen bank.
CLOVER. Shit! Are you being serious right now?
IGGY. The snow was soft. The reeds broke under me, snapped around my head. The sky was grey and wide, like the backs of eyelids. Maybe that’s where the idea to sleep came from.
CLOVER. You could’ve died. You could be dead. How come you didn’t die?
IGGY. Who knows, maybe I am dead.
CLOVER. Ugh, Iggy, please.
IGGY. This is a very simple story. I fell asleep, and when I woke up, I was different.
IGGY. Yes and no. I had a dream. In my dream, the image angel appeared. It gave me a seashell. It said, “There is another world roaring in the tip and edge of every living thing. My shell is the skin of every infant. God saves a teeny, tiny piece, even if you weren’t born, to remember you by. He loves you. You came from a beach. Your eternity was rolling out there in the pores settling in the upturned hourglass that doesn’t rush anyone, and there is no need for suntan lotion, nothing is going to hurt you.”
CLOVER. I didn’t know you thought that kinda stuff.
IGGY. I don’t. I told you, I dreamed it.
CLOVER. What the hell is an image angel?
IGGY. I dunno.
CLOVER. And how’d you remember all of that?
IGGY. I dunno. Perhaps that’s my problem.
CLOVER. (sighs) I suppose this is a loaded place. I remember the fort we made beneath that outcrop with Greg and Eliza.
IGGY. And Greg played it in 6 years later smoking dope and waving his lighter.
CLOVER. It was fun. You know it was. Smiling through tomato sandwiches. We were cute back then, I guess.
IGGY. …yeah. It’s funny how cuteness can sustain a person. We were living on a childhood cloud.
CLOVER. (softening) You’re still pretty cute. I mean, just a little.
IGGY. And you, you’re coming around—I rubbed a smidgeon off, on your elbow, right here, see –
CLOVER. (laughs and pulls away) Jesus! Stop touching me!
IGGY. You liked me a lot more back then.
CLOVER. You liked me a lot more.
IGGY. You were quite charming, fists do have a way with words. (Clover punches his shoulder) Ouch. You were my champion.
IGGY. Champion rock-skipper. I resented you so much, you were so good at it.
CLOVER. I still am, and you still resent me.
IGGY. These small dependencies.
CLOVER. Think I can skip one on the ice?
IGGY. No, but I think you will.
CLOVER. Huh! You’ll see.
(Clover beings searching for a stone.)
IGGY. Hey Clover?
IGGY. If you make it, I’ll give you this. (pulls a small red-wrapped box out from underneath his jacket)
CLOVER. What’s that?
IGGY. Christmas present. Skip it and I’ll give it to you early. If not, it goes back in my pocket till tree-time.
CLOVER. Aww, Iggy, you got me a gift, I want it… I’m so excited!…let me find a rock… I don’t want to break it though – the ice – it’s too perfect…
IGGY. It’s too thick. None of those rocks will make a dent.
CLOVER. Okay, here… found one, here it goes!
(Clover concentrates and flicks the rock far enough that it slides off-stage)
IGGY. Not quite as elegant as youth.
CLOVER. Jerk. Wow, it really flew, all the way out there… Hey, what is… Oh my god, look at that!
CLOVER. That! That brown thing!
CLOVER. There – there – no, there – look – god! It – it’s a bird –
IGGY. It’s a duck.
CLOVER. That’s a bird… I mean, look at it…
IGGY. Frozen into the ice.
CLOVER. Jesus Christ, it’s still alive.
IGGY. Wing is snapped. He must’ve broken it and landed here. Look, Clove, look at the gesture of its body. The bizarre way in which it’s trapped. Nature’s petrified him in that position, as if it were always on the verge of leaving. That’s how these moments are.. the rich ones, small and quick. I wish I had my camera with me…
CLOVER. What a disgusting statement.
IGGY. The water refroze around him recently. What a strange feeling it must’ve been. Dissolving? Disintegration? Betrayal?
CLOVER. Take your hand off me, I’m not some tourist on your fucking nature walk.
IGGY. Appreciate it. It’s endearing.
CLOVER. Are you nuts? This is the saddest fucking sight I have ever seen.
IGGY. Maybe I’m nuts.
CLOVER. I’m about to cry. I’m honestly going to cry.
IGGY. It’s a moving sight. I can imagine a lot of meaning into it. It feels nice.
CLOVER. Fuck you and your sick feelings!
IGGY. It’s what everyone does, Clover. I’m not strange. You’re imagining it means something sad.
CLOVER. What do we do?!
CLOVER. We have to help it somehow, even if we can’t save it – we’ve gotta –
IGGY. Why do you think that?
CLOVER. Think what?
IGGY. Think that we’re responsible for it. That we have to ‘save’ it.
CLOVER. What is wrong with you?
(Clover looks at Iggy as if she’s seeing him for the first time, but she is not surprised; there is more horror than surprise.)
IGGY. It doesn’t matter. Nature put that duck there; it’ll grow another duck inside another duck on that same place in the spring. We’re not supposed to ‘do’ anything about it.
CLOVER. That’s just horrible.
IGGY. Your reaction is media, society; not nature. Nature would let it die.
CLOVER. You’re the most insensitive person –
IGGY. I’m hypersensitive.
CLOVER. — the worst words come out of your mouth, I don’t’ understand it, no one’s done anything wrong to you –
IGGY. You can shoot it, if you really want.
CLOVER. I’m not going to shoot it, you psycho, what kind of shit thing to do is that –
IGGY. If you shoot it, it suffers less. But you take on some of that suffering instead.
CLOVER. I’m not going to shoot it. I can’t do that. You’re upsetting me, honest-to-God you are –
IGGY. Of course you won’t. What’re you always waiting for, Clover?
CLOVER. You’re so sick.
IGGY. If you’re not going to pull the trigger, then calm down and accept what’s in front of you.
CLOVER. You want me to watch it, buried alive in cold?
IGGY. No, I want you to shoot it. You don’t like power. Not your own, not nature’s.
CLOVER. (shrieks) This is all it’ll have, this is it! Iggy –! You only get one life!
IGGY. All is one.
CLOVER. I’m going to ask your dad.
IGGY. You’re under the impression my dad will trek way out here to shoot a duck? Ha. Haha. (suddenly tired-sounding) My uncle has the hunting rifles this weekend. There’s nothing to do about it.
CLOVER. I’m not going to ask him to kill it. I’m going to ask him to save it.
IGGY. Why don’t you hike on out there yourself if you love it so much, Clover? You think you love every goddamn thing but then you never lift your ass for it.
CLOVER. Why do you have to make me hate you? Why can’t you show some fucking empathy?!
(Iggy stands; Clover is already standing. Their fists are clenched and Clover is breathing hard. Iggy is angry now, too.)
IGGY. So this is about me? It’s not even about the animal? You just want me to want to save it.
CLOVER. It wants to live!
IGGY. It doesn’t know what it wants!
CLOVER. Fuck you! You want to know what’s a real drag? Even the things you lift your ass for don’t matter to you. You’re a mean person. And you’re a cold person. And really – truly, at the heart of it – I know why you want to be alone. I can see you there, I can see your curled shoulders, that tightness around your eyes. That hunch. That quiver. You decided to knot your scarf even though you weren’t cold. You want to be alone because you want to be sad. And being sad gives you an excuse to not care, and not caring gives you an excuse to do whatever the hell you want. You wanted me to follow you – you wanted me to be your audience and clap at the end at every show. That’s why you came out here. Well to hell with you, I’ll hold my applause.
IGGY. Very dramatic. Very nice, Clover. Very funny.
CLOVER. It’s not.
(Silence. They gaze at one another, knowing each others’ weaknesses. Eventually the tension in Clover collapses. She stares guiltily off-stage, towards the duck. She doesn’t meet Iggy’s eyes and her voice is strained. )
CLOVER. Hey, Iggy. Did you really mean all of that you said before?
IGGY. I don’t mean anything.
CLOVER. All I want is for you to like me.
IGGY. Who sounds like a child now?
CLOVER. Or for you to like yourself.
CLOVER. I’m going to get your dad.
(Clover exits where they entered. Iggy collapses back onto the snow. He sits for a while.)
IGGY. That’s my problem. I have a problem. You hear me out there? Do you hear me? Don’t leave this world with any foolish preconceptions. Everything is going to hurt you.
(Iggy gazes for a moment more. Then he rises and walks slowly out onto the ice, off stage. There is a long pause once he’s out of view. A large ‘crack’ and the slosh of water is heard.)
CLOVER. (shouting from a distance) He says he can’t, the ice is too thin this year, happy now? You get to watch it rot!
CLOVER. Ginger, knock it off – don’t walk on the ice! You can get a drink inside! C’mere. Ginger! Ginger, you stupid dog – come back – IGGY, CALL HER!
CLOVER. (running up, out of breath) Ginger! Iggy? … Iggy? Where’s the…? That huge hole… where’s the duck? Did you throw a rock, Iggy? You bastard, were – were you – throwing rocks at the duck… a-and my present, too… Did you throw that in there?
(shouting) Iggy, you dick!
I’ve never thrown away a thing of yours!
It’s sinking …
The song is about love
Sweet but sad
A jazzy guitar strums
To a slow rhythm
I can dance to
Three step turns
Step out then back in
Roll my head
Roll my shoulders
Roll my upper body
Roll my hips
I swing my arms out
My head looks both ways
The angel on my right shoulder
The devil on my left shoulder
I feel like someone should be
Dancing with me
I purposely dance
As though I have a partner
In my mind’s eye I do
I hold one arm out
He’d take my hand
I’d turn into him if he were there
I lean back
He’d be dipping me
Three step turns
My arms cross over my sides
He’d stand behind me
Hands on my shoulder and waist
He’d be next to me
As I perform quick footwork
He’d imitate my steps
I’d be enclosed in his arms
While I spin
I can almost swear I feel hands
I take long steps across the floor
He’s now following me
I sometimes look at my shadow
It follows me perfectly
Possibly the best dance partner
Besides the one in my head
The room is white
My companion shadow is alive
He could be too
Run my fingers through air
Stroke the air
I hardly breathe air anymore
My head feels numb and light
Between fantasy and reality
But I love this song
So I’ll just keep dancing
With a man’s final sad note
The music fades
I’ve been dancing alone
I turn away and
Strike a simple pose
Greetings galore and welcome to the Colophon, Washington College’s Online Literary Magazine! For this academic year, the site will continue to be a forum for posts of creative expression and discussions about them. Under the new direction of Valerie Dunn (Spokesperson), Maddie Zins (Vice Spokesperson) and Katie Tabeling (Treasurer) the Writers’ Union will be a bit different however, the Colophon will remain as it always has been– an avenue through which we may foster our love for the craft of writing . We will generally meet every other Saturday beginning on Saturday, September 15th at 2:00pm in the Rose O’Neill Literary House. Come to the Open House in the Lit House tomorrow from 8:00pm to 10:00pm to get some more information on the Writer’s Union itself. Keep your eyes out for updates on meetings and events for the Writer’s Union and have a great start to your semester!
Self-censorship is the antithesis of masturbation,
A cold calculation of what it costs
To give yourself what you want
But cannot have.
I say have it. Have at it.
The girl you’ve been eyeing
Against the backdrop of a dingy nowhere.
Everywhere; she’ll go there.
And if she won’t,
Make her take her take you bring you here.
Sin is only made of fear.
The Prostitute’s Proverb, For a Price
I am not a handmaiden of some lord.
I am a handmaiden of what for;
a prologue of a pouting deep darkness
dark like the shadows between and below
lips pouting and legs like the dexterity of raindrops.
And I will tell you what I don’t know
and tell you that I do know
that what I don’t know
is better than what you do know
-maybe, I don’t know.
My mind is not made up,
but my bed is turned down,
and my head spins round
and round and round with the thought
of you making it up to me.
For I am only lost once I am found.
If you cannot see me
can you see me frown?
Do you indulge the gentle pull of my lips?
Indulge and sink into the pool of my lacy white slips.
She will only stay white
in the fierce moon glow of night,
they say. I say
I am only and always a damned good whore.
I’m happy when I look at my handwriting, the way my jays swoop across a line and curve into a yawning oh. I’m happy when I fish an ant out of my morning coffee and remember that I’m in college and pests are a necessary evil. I smile when I wriggle my head through the head of a just-tumble-dried turtle neck.
Sometimes, when it looks like I’m burrowed in a worry, even when my forehead is wrinkled and my mouth is pouched in a frown, I’m actually happy. Sometimes I’m as worried as I look, but sometimes I like people to worry that I’m worried.
I’m happy when I know I don’t have to be, when I’m alone and no one is around to appreciate my selfish grin. I’m happy when I’m alone and have every right to be unhappy. I’m happy when it’s just me in my room and I’m folded over on my bed and all I can see are my knees. I’m even happier when someone interrupts my muted happiness with a knock on the door and I have to uncurl myself to answer and say hello. I’m happy when my happiness reaches the door before I do.
Hunger makes me happy, the anticipation of food and conversation. Sleepiness makes me happy, too.
I’m happy when someone notices a stray hair or fuzzy on my sweater and takes the time to flick it off for me. I’m even happier when I do the same for someone else.
I smile when I highlight a word document and watch it swell from single to double space and my lost Sunday afternoon suddenly seems worthwhile. I smile when I close my eyes and I smile when I open them and nothing’s changed. I smile when I have nothing better to do.
I’m happy when it’s a contracted happiness, one that’s leeched onto me because I was too close to a contagiously wide-smiled stranger. I’m happy when I touch a doorknob and know that I’ve let some of my own happy germs behind.
I’m happy when I’m about to be sad, when I’m teetering between laughing and crying and I know that I’ll have to settle on one sooner or later, but I can still taste the guilty sweetness of joy on my tongue. Part of me stays happy and watches and smiles while the rest of me slips out of happiness for a little while, and that part of me smiles even wider when that little while is over.