I walk along the street on a Sunday, and a neighbor in a purple
collared t-shirt and black dress pants comes out of his house and
beeps his car. I say, Good morning, how ya doing, as one does,
and he says, Good mornin’ sweetheart. I’m off to fight the Devil.
I laugh and say, Good luck.
He says, You too.
He isn’t laughing.
I am writing a dishonest book. One that depends on luck
cards and the devil with those long-fingered hands. Piquet and
Cent and some games with dice.
I am often angry. When I’m especially angry I turn red. A red-skinned white woman red with fury red with blood red with guilt red with lipstick red with nailpolish red with candyhearts smeared red satin red smears on my thighs waking up in a puddle of blood.
A man circled a line in my manuscript. He said, that’s not true you can’t say most women have woken up in blood-stained sheets that’s a gross exaggeration.
Golly-gee-willikers mister you’re right. I’m wrong about being female and bleeding and what was I thinking making such a hurtful statement.
Just give me a moment to strip the bed.
I’ll wash the sheets.
I’ll burn the rags.
I’ll clean the blood off my thighs.
All mattresses have blood stains monsieur but you’ve never noticed
not being the one making the bed monsieur.
I should admit we all have scars as I know you do and I should be more willing to forgive but I am not. Forgiveness isn’t one of my virtues.
I drink too much rye. I eat too little food. I make a note of this: Too Much Rye while someone smokes a joint outside and the windowframe leaks just enough to make these words clank in the wind.
Too sweet the perfume too alligator the jealousy. I’m rabid with magnolia while you’re lovely in the sea breeze.
My hair is in windlocks. The floor is filthy with fur and cypress needles and someone’s blood and I don’t even know whose. Worse, I don’t care.
I want to be happy and my lover is tired. I want to be happy and my land scape is tired.
Lisa Pasold is the author of five critically-acclaimed books. Her work has appeared in magazines such as New American Writing, The Globe and Mail and Fence. She recommends the books-to-prisoners program in Mississippi: Big House Books.