THE FIRST PERSON
I’ve been the man who has fucked four times a day, you said, struggling to get your pants back on like a better-fitting skin. And I’ve been that woman, I wanted to say. Though that woman seems faraway as the I was from the you,
until I’m only sure it’s possible to escape not through your skin, but by shifting focus from the first person to third, then back to gain perspective, like a camera lens zooming in and out. Like an eye pupil exposed to dark, then light, then dark—Rilke said
metaphysical. I call it plain goddamned human. This woman and the man—because perspective has changed—are walking the blond dunes. She’s afraid to graze his hand.
They’ve found a tiny puddle. Upon further examining, the tiny puddle is filled with fish the color of the sand dunes and why, she’s thinking are those flecks of rainbows in the water, why do we try to slip
out of our bodies with this drunkenness, sobriety, happiness, melancholy, with this escape to the world’s edge, and into someone else’s skin? Why this emphasis on time when it doesn’t exist? By now, the water has expanded and the woman’s no longer
sitting before the puddle, but in it,and the pool of water formed a tail, and more of the strange, muted fish shot through the tail like tadpoles through the tail of a much darker, bigger tadpole, and darting under the glittering flecks of sand
when they saw the man and woman’s shadows—there were dead horseshoe crabs the color of coral. Then they realized it wasn’t a puddle, but the ocean expelling itself into the dunes. That the pools
would grow deeper and wider and more frequent. Pretty soon, there would be water everywhere, which makes sense, because we are water anyway, aren’t we, that is one thing we all are, which is what united us. Which is why I can slip
back into the first person, the first person, and the trickle of water grew louder and I was still afraid to touch you, afraid of the old way: my anger, the dead crabs, the people we were who were not us, not us, as much as who we were
about to become—the way an ocean will soon separate us, and while the rainbows danced, and you made concentric circles in the sand, which I pressed my head against. Until a shining cord hung from my belly: a necklace I had
always owned but you were too transparent to see in the right light.
Published in the anthology, Double Lives, Reinventing Ourselves, and Those We Leave Behind, by Wising Up Press.
Copyright © 2009 by Maria Nazos. All Rights Reserved.