The Woman in Me

Robert Vivian

The woman in me is writing this down—I was born of a single candle flame flickering before dawn—daddy was someone I loved/feared, I picked daisies, I was daisies, I am daisies. The woman in me is watchful and alive—I haven’t held her hand for months. I’m afraid it will feel like molten lava—she wants to weep, she wants to laugh but not to shop—she reads a letter by a window Vermeered in stillness. She is my mother, my sister, a waitress—the woman in me is high on pastel colors, is wary of men in pickup trucks, low rumble of chassis then backfiring at a stop light. The woman in me is writing madly in her diary that there’s no proper outlet for hysterical laughter—she is running barefoot through a field. I never knew hair could smell so mossy. I didn’t know my own fingernails reflected the almost full moon. The woman in me scares the shit out of me—she is the earth, every river I have ever waded or dreamed of. She is the fish I try to catch and the fish I do catch whose wormholes make me feel a world of holiness. I want to touch the woman in me—okay, I want to cradle her face in my hands—okay, I’m afraid to. I like how she sits hugging her bare knees with a the faint mustache of root beer on her upper lip—I like her strawberry-colored hair, then blond, then dark, a few wisps over her left eye hiding a life time of secret hurt. Yes, the moon—yes, the oceans, the changing of the seasons. The woman in me, I have come to count on her, to make me feel things that tremble throughout my sensorium, that ripple out to the timorous stars—the woman in me is writing this. She is pen and ink—I take a shower and admire the beads of water running down her thighs. I am always bashful in front of her, can hardly meet her eyes. She says let it be, let it be, and when I look at her for too long I feel myself melting and going back to water, the man I once was running after her with flowers in his mouth falling away one by withering one.

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Robert Vivian is currently working on a collection of dervish essays entitled Mystery My Country.