is the sensation of acceleration form sixty-eight to seventy-three
because you can: because you know you'll only get pulled for eleven over and you have that margin;
gratuitous switching of lanes and racing the other travelers
in contests so clandestine even they don't know, and letting them win
writes the music no one listens to, really, but you perhaps; if your life
were a movie, people wouldn't buy the soundtrack; more for you,
and turn it up; the notes will pour through your blood and the beats shiver up your spine
whether the masses like it or not
hovers in the weight of keys and phone held carelessly between green fingers,
the tattoo marking your rite of passage,
first kill and mobility being roughly equivalent now we've moved from caves;
they'll see and know you for the almostadult you are: jingle them louder
is, mostly, an illusion; after all, who's paying rent or mortgage or loan
or all those fees necessary to civilized life-- not you;
you go home at night to sleep beneath a roof you do not own;
maybe it isn't independence after all, then; maybe it's a beginning sort of
and this one is obscenely, ungodly long:
I will tell you a story.
Everything she ever wanted was a very small pearl
shaped strangely, as no pearl could be,
that would fit in a very small hole,
shaped strangely, as no hole should be,
and hole and pearl and very strange shape
were all figurative. She lived without disability,
because a strangely shaped figurative discontinuity
was never any reason for a closer parking place,
or for walking slowly, or for tears.
She ran, and laughed. At night, the tiny void
and she communed as she wended her way toward sleep,
and sometimes in her dreams. Sometimes, a confidante
would be told of the very small hole and pearl, because
confidantes are made for such things. Some of them understood.
But their memories faded, and she was left alone with no pearl
and she continued to understand the hole, waiting.
She saw chances. She never took them, because
to take would be to preclude the pearl being right.
It had to fall in, dropped from heaven or
from a hand that maybe knew what it was giving,
or maybe didn't. As long as it gave.
For this, she left herself open; there were
things to steal, things of value, things she did
not prize-- or not so much as that pearl,
which was everything she ever wanted.
She did not have that and it could not be taken.
Plundering and replacing went on
in the wild periphery around the tiny hole that no one
saw. Then he walked through and stole the
one thing closest to the tiny hole where the
pearl could fall; never intentionally; it perhaps
got caught on his trousers, a beggarweed seed or bramble.
She watched him go away with it, but never
mourned its loss-- only the void cried out
that it might be filled, and he might drop the pearl.
She kept the cries to herself. Asking precluded.
She watched him, and spoke, and he saw
her running and laughter and maybe he guessed
that the hole was there, but never did she own
that the hole was there, or that he might fill it.
He had his own hole, and she knew that while
she might be capable of someday filling one, it never
was his; and she watched him as he lost from himself
what he had stolen from her. And still hoped. She knew
the pearl in his hand was strangely shaped
and very small, and she held herself still and
vulnerable and waited and watched. It hurt,
and it didn't matter; if the pearl fell, she
would be full, and she would wait with him
until his pearl fell. She went along with him,
surprised that he took her at all, surprised
when he found her as he promised, and the hope
at the center of the void shivered, as with a chill.
It could-- but amid the tremblings another part
of her foisted its notions of insanity upon
her, and she abandoned hope for resignation,
which is hope behind a screen. Hope
dies not by suicide; it wastes away, or is killed.
He would not give her what he had without trying
stolen. But the pearl was another
thing entirely. One day, with him, without turning
to face her, he opened to her and displayed to her
the hole she knew was there. And she looked
and saw that her hole was gone; a tiny opalescence
winked up at her from its place. His palm was
empty; but he had no wild periphery around his void,
because his void and the wild periphery were
the same. And she mourned his loss, and mourned
that her pearl was jolted from his palm
by the shock not of theft but of the ache thereafter;
and mourned that he ached at all. It occured to her
that perhaps she would rather her hole than his.
Credulous by nature, still she needed a
confirmation that it was not by mistake that she
had been granted everything she ever wanted. Asking
did not preclude what had already happened;
and someday she could be forgiven if
her asking precluded what had not. It had;
but the hope beneath the pearl softly recoiled
as though its tiniest binding filament had
been severed, and turned to dread. Regret
rushed in as a cushion; too late; and he walked away
due soon to return. She kept her face to the east
and waited again; until the coldness by her side
was no more, she could not look to see
if her pearl remained. That it might have been taken
was almost as if it had been;
she waited. To have her pearl and keep it was worth more waiting than eternity made possble.