Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Four Invisible Hands

Esperanza awoke to the cold dew of a desert night. Sagebrush and Yucca perfume stroked her face and sent a chill down her body. She opened her eyes slightly, just until they were slits and they captured the image of a globe of stars swimming in the ink of the sky. Esperanza took inventory of her limbs slowly; she moved her shoeless feet, driving pains through her hips up to her back. She felt the ground with her fingers and noticed the dry earth was still warm from the day’s sun. She dug the heat with her nails, lodging it underneath, wishing she could pull it over her like a blanket and fall back to sleep, fall into that darkness once more, but the aching in her bones would not cease. Esperanza lay there trying to remember how she came to this place in the desert where no lights flicker except the stars, where the silence was interrupted only by the wind moving devils through the dust. "Yes," she said, "the sea is outside the window. I heard it." I told her, "We don't have a sea, not here in Indiana." She is now feverless, and she dreams of the sea in every moment, night and day. The church has proclaimed God will save this poor girl and Father Amis comes every afternoon to do the saving. He is an expert in sodomy, disguised as ritual saving, and his face becomes luminous when someone says...exorcism. To him, every mind is like a scout knot; the unimportant facts are suppressed and the imperative ones, only vital things, survive. The trivial things merely vibrate the strings of gospel played on harps. "Pass me the bible please. The ancestors suffer inside a person in such a state. They must come out, one way or another." Father Amis says. The crucifix lay in one hand and a tiny bottle of water in the other. Father Amis always holds this transgression to be very special. He keeps score against the devil. "Open up!" He says raising his voice. Through the open window he could only see, in the far away distance, trucks running in the morning mist. Like migratory birds, they came from the north and were never seen again. "I belong to that wave," Esperanza whispers, "now let me go." Esperanza grasps her hand into that of Father Amis. She does not feel safe beside him, but needs to touch his skin for a while. She can taste the ocean in her mouth. Her tongue is a salt flat left when the sun had taken away what she loves the most. She senses her hand in Father Amis’ hand, and it gives her and uneasy feeling of connectedness that she does not desire, and in his skin she can feel the evil no one else can see. Esperanza tries to lift her delicate fingers from the center of his palm, but he grips her there and begins speaking his exorcism. The words quickly form in the air and then float down onto her chest and into her like tattoos. These words a comfort to her now like daily prayers, she could speak it from memory with him, but decides not to. She lay there waiting for the spirits to be driven out, these devilish ghosts, but nothing happens. Esperanza feels the fever begin to rise and take her over again. She cannot keep her eyes open; cannot will away what Father Amis will do to her, so she settles into it like a bear in winter. “Yes,” she thinks, “I will be a bear in winter.”
Aleathia Drehmer/Beto Palaio 2009
Published by Shoots & Vines, Print Anthology "I Can't Be Your Virgin and Your Mother"

Sparking the Fire

I'm my least jaded in the morning while sheets are still warm from sleep, hair mussed with dreams, and skin shiny having run from ghosts. I wake with cat mewing at the door, white paw beneath threshold, searching for a magic latch to unhook, that lets him curl into the crook of my knees. The TV is on low, some far away sounds of two dimensional, neon-colored faces, my child speaking softly and innocently to imaginary people on the couch, then, for a moment, all is silent save the scraping of the plow's blade pushing night snow into jagged heaps. Door clicks open and my progeny eases in to deliver rapid-fire cartoon fantasies about the time she was a cat trainer living in the circus, and didn't I remember that? Or, are you just too old to imagine it? Aleathia Drehmer 2009 Published by Shoots & Vines, Print Anthology "I Can't Be Your Virgin and Your Mother"

West Coast Light (for David Smith)

I dream in West coast light,
bathe in Pacific breezes
with sea foam pouring from my mouth.
Tiny white clouds, pieces of me
easily dissolved into tears
when the rains come to pull
down the canyon walls;
When they come too late to put out the flames
of my summer fueled desires.
I awake to the sound of hard
northern winds, spiked with sharp
needles of icy rain, and there is no
sun for my head until I dream again.

Aleathia Drehmer 2007

Published by Hobo Camp Review Issue 1

The Night Comes Quiet

We found a sunny day and lay in the grass watching the earth breathe, pushed out in some field walled with grass and crickets and warm winds making leaves rustle like bells; humectants smell and green things curl under our noses, a dreamed memory not quite tangible yet. I rest my head upon your stomach, listening to biorhythms. I could do this for hours lost in the adventure of your working body as fingers entwine and we hold hands with skins together, molecules hovering in between tiny spaces, and I wonder how can I make you happy again. We let the earth swallow us up in silence. The light fades; night comes quiet, and our bodies chill with violence. You feel me shiver through my fingertips pressed into the bones of your knuckles, a vibration conducted that you squeeze to make stop; the first stars come out while the sky is that royal blue color that makes you want to drown yourself . We wish things in our heads.... "Starlight, star bright first star I see tonight, wish I may, wish I might, wish the wish I wish tonight." And I think where did that come from? Why is that the most beautiful thing I have ever heard? I break the silence. I say, Bean? and you say Yes? I whisper, Are we dead? and you say, Not yet. Ok, I say, just checking. The night extinguishes everything except the moonlight on your white t-shirt. I think you are a ghost I would like to know better. I curl up between your arm and heart, feel it beating arbitrarily ....beat beat ....beat beat... I wonder how such things can happen in the dead of night, how we just keep going and going and going until one day we don’t. The coldest of summer breezes floats in over our heads and we are numb from it. We don’t care. We stay there tucked in the grass prisoners of ink, silent prisoners of flesh.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Hobo Camp Review Issue 1