Three: A Morning


[The Lovers by Rene Magritte, 1928]

Three: A Morning

—mickey morgan

The Woman

You push me and pull me. Do you love me or hate me? Three weeks of disaffection? I’m sure you are the one who hates. Why did you rest your head on my knees? If you really feel that, have decided that, like you never have decided before how you’ve never caught up with yourself and the way you think you should feel because that is the way a civilized person takes insult after insult till your body bends down and your head thrusts at one angle into the wind so as not to muss your hair so carefully coiffed and combed to cover a dissipation of strands, laying bare your skin, your skin, a shame you never got used to, never will love, will keep on losing hair and hating what it covered, hating yourself for being so vulnerable, so open to the sky’s dropping, so close to solid bone, the rock, the fortressed eye.

The Man

My whole life I’ve been beaten . . . everybody’s bigger. I cringe at bigness, I’ll say yes to avoid a scene anytime, to avoid the ugly brutality of you, your mass of hulking anger, bigger than me, hissing cursing, foul in your mind and spilling out your tongue, peasant, rude, your parents don’t want you, why should I treat you better, you’re lucky I love you. I desperately need you to keep me from dying of hate, self-hate. I reek of it, why can’t you clean me up, ma, you are here to clean me up, shine me, buff me, dress me, decide for me, direct me and then let me reject your direction. Then I can push against your bulking wall and rebound in the other direction. We’re caught in a room and I think that’s hysterically funny that you can’t get out. We’ll shove and shove, tumbling and bruising against walls with no windows, no doors, no air. I don’t need air.

The Boy

Mixing noises my mom my dad pulling a hard rope between them yanking each other till I think they’ll fall. My pillow is soft and smells good. I am loose on my bed and here is the day the morning, my goose rests up there but he hears and freezes Please let it drop, please, please, kick it under the bed my belly waves up something I feel at times like this wanting to be somewhere in a little hall hidden in a dark corner, cover me let the night come back the quiet the sleeping words that stay hidden in deep places, don’t speak them, they stab.  I hear you stab each other and every thrust pierces me. I’m little. But I can make it stop. I can put you together, make you kiss, put us together. If I don’t do it, nobody will. You won’t, you can’t you won’t stop, you could if you’d just say you’re sorry just say you’re sorry that’s all then we would be ok the way we are sometimes, laughing and poking silly jumps and scribbles please please I’ll do it I’ll do it I’ll do my homework I’ll eat my breakfast I’ll take my vitamins and brush my teeth. I’ll get myself dressed very fast and go school and be happy I’ll smile I’ll laugh at your jokes yes yes yes a very good, very good, the best boy




She heaves her limbs up the stairs, leg before arm, the other and the other. Spine in innumerable parts, each needing a different muscular labor. Drenched as she is in the weight of sweat-soaked tights, leotard, leg-warmers, socks, shirt, she has to peel and unpeel and pull at the wraps to get naked.

The mirror in the shower room confirms the paring, the effort to the ascetic. Air swills the surface of her skin, beginning to cool her. Each muscle speaking louder, a crescendo of ache–neck, back, thighs, feet. She leads with a naked toe into the shower stall, wrenches the handle to the extreme. The burn of water down her shoulders floods a shudder of peace deep to her knees. Tilting her face to the flow, she scorches cheekbones, temples, breasts, hair flees back out of confusion, into rivered clarity, piling down the hips’ central structure. She begins to shampoo. Moves her head in a figurey-eight, timeless caress of warm coils. Lather lingers finger-like streams softly down her cheeks.

He calls up the stairs.

She steps out, leans around the corner at the top of the stairs; shows only her head, neck, coils easing down brown, cheek, jaw. Heavy slide. Goodbye.

The step back into the shower, the retreat to what she had before. The flood, the spill of burning eyes, quakes rippling and breaking open a stream of deep coughs, pulsing out. Every crevice plunged with water. As if tears ran down her whole body.

Daughter of the Night


photographer unknown: my apologies

Daughter of the Night

I took a walk in the body of the night. The full moon blew black clouds—brooding organs—beneath the cranial bowl of sky. Clouds moved big, like changing thoughts, massed forward and away, blacking out then whitening the dark. I fit into the night. My arms, legs, shifted shades of gray one and the same with all of it—the whole hill and field and hay bales, frigid grass, leaves, stalks crisp and spindly like brittle bones that gave out chatter as I crushed them underfoot. A tufted cedar grew dark at the peak of the hill. Off a ways. Lone at the top.

And the wind. Full of the moon’s white leaking into me. Blanching me everywhere. I opened to it. Dropped my pelvic floor, softened my chest, let go my knees a little, to let it know I would take anything, anything it was or had to give. I was all of it. Kin to the moon, the sky, clouds, hill, cedar. Yes.