He Said Discipline Is the Highest Form of Love
All three girls were in love with their music teacher. At a lesson, he told one: You wear your heart on your sleeve. Then the other came in, dark hair parted in the middle like a black book. She had the longest most promising fingers, but he did not love her. The third girl did not come until the next day. In the night she dreamed that he spread his arms out behind her and then wrapped his left arm to hers holding the instrument, and folded her fingers so they touched the strings. His right arm crooked with her arm holding the bow. They were just one violin.
Every time she practiced after that she felt his limbs on her limbs, his breast at her back, like a man-shadow cast by her small girl body. An hour would go by like an arrow. That’s what was hardest: what love did to time. The Brahms fell apart like a glass. His shoulders over her shoulders. Even when she grew up, which happened in a night, and was happy, she could still conjure him, this love skin. This whole petal of him.
When she came to her lesson the next day he tapped the lip of her music stand with a baton, tic-tic-tic, four-four time. She felt—a bit, a bit of his ankle in her ankle, and then the knee above that, floating. She wondered what he was like with the book-haired girl. She knew he loved those long fingers. Maybe that was enough. In time.
The way I can carry a canary on my finger through the house, you’d think the littlest part of my body was a light somewhere else. I have been able to do this since I was a child. Since I was a child the boat on my head and the whistle in my hip have both fallen and disappeared. They say it’s important for a woman to have balance. She needs balance in order to have grace. That way the boat and the pale white pear don’t get lost. And the plunger neither. The way I can carry pitch black on my lips, the way I can carry a gun in my sleep, the way I can carry bottles all stacked up my spine and a backgammon piece in my ear and the whole gulf of Aqaba on my perfume, you’d say I was a body on a spirit and spirit’s looking precarious. Even now someone next to you may be carrying on his shoulder, a side of beef or an astrolabe. You never know who’s carrying an 1/8" screwdriver in their gut. Look closely. At the body: a place from which thing after thing has fallen. The way I can carry the book of sitting. The way I can carry the book of kneeling. And the way I can carry the book of leafing through over and over. Carrying the farmhouse and the chickens and dad’s clarinet and this desert and the fine night and the TV-murmur and your sleep all at once—they say it can’t be done. You can’t carry the gray roof and the wire coop and the black velvet-lined case and the saguaros and the 5th of November and the boy in the late movie saying he’s going to make more trees…not without dropping a pear or a gun. And it may be true. Sometimes I sway, and men throw down their pillows. A child carries his bedtime all through his life.
Red Car I
I follow you sleek red car that dream crashed into a rack of dresses at the bottom of the hill, struck and swaying like female ghosts. Heartbeat, I follow you, even your exhausted ghost glistens like pomade, and I arrive at the coffee house just in time to catch you peeling from the windowlight and buzzing like a mind to the road out of town. Cherry Bomb, I follow you, watery with desire, past the horse factory where I work, the bread station and the warehouse liquors. They slip past my face like sequined fish, the speed of my desire so marine, so liquid, though many think water is slow as air is quick. It’s just that we lose time there and even there the red car has the undulation of a sting ray which is the red car in a heat mirage. You must follow me: We are after the red car which is now cruising the bedroom neighborhoods as I squint across the lawn and feel my house, the next, slide by, its bright mirrors, its guttural croon, the red car suddenly guns like blood for air and gone—
Copyright c 2013 by Beckian Fritz Goldberg. May
not be reproduced without permission.