I envy musicians. When I hear live music I get sick with it, internally cocooning in the venue’s fold-out seats. I enter into a dialogue with myself, considering what practice these auricular magicians maintain that I do not, what motivation they must have that I do not. I come to this conclusion; they have music because they are worthy. I don’t, because I am not. The worst part: they don’t even have to be that good.
Many of my friends are musicians. You are a musician; you are worthy. I’ve seen the blurred pictures from the theater, the tweedy costume, your violin nestled beneath that harsh jaw. You send invitations between lines of poetry, and I reciprocate, surprised that we have found new common interests.
It seems to me you often wear two faces, you the brat and you the soulful youth. In the car ride before we summited mount [redacted], you sat sullen, argued with your brother, fiddled with some interlocking puzzle made of metal. To separate the pieces, it required brute strength as much as skill. You’ve always had both. For this, I’ve always admired you.
In childhood, you’d wrestle me down, winning our games. This, I understood, was the difference between boys and girls. You were always hungrier, my girlhood weak by comparison. A hard lesson to unlearn. Even now, when I imagine power for myself, it is the power to create life, to pull the tides like the feminine moon.
In some of my fantasies, I can clench my hands and pull carbons into proteins, then into trailing sinews and the beginnings of life. Green and reeking of sweetness or bone broth, diaphanous clouds thicken on top of the water like the skin on a cream-thickened soup. Plumes of algae floating on the surface cleanse the air, and temperatures drop back to normalcy. Blanched reefs glow rosy with abundance, like the fertile wife of a misogynist’s religion. New microbes break down trash piles. When at my most inspired, I imagine those microbes into leviathans.
I cannot sing, but my creatures would sing for me.
They would have the long faces of horses, but predator’s mouths. Graphic designers abide by the hierarchy of shapes, small, medium, large, in sets. Two large and central eyes, with a vanguard of smaller eyes. Squid's eyes, wide as dinner plates. Shark’s eyes. Your eyes, a thousand thousand of your eyes, inlaid along the dorsal ridge like beads in a brocade. Your eyes, luminous and everywhere.
Remember when we thought we would get married? No intimacy equal to two bodies in the dark. Even in childhood we knew our paths. Even with women I take my place, femme, both needy and needing to give, to make myself indispensable. I will not get left behind. My beasts can be my dowry.
I like your mom better than mine, anyways.
It's common sense, a convenience.
On the gently sloping road back to the car, you ran ahead while I talked with your mother. You'd proven steady footed on the rocks, steep with treachery. I'd proven I could finally keep up.
Don't look behind, I'm walking to the left of you. Out on my night walks, there are no other people in the suburbs to see me. And you are in the mountains, having sent one last text before leaving, and having left your phone behind.
Plunge into the thicket at your peril. I'll be waiting for us just up ahead.