sidebrow

Admittance

A coiled rug covered in dog hair, or cat, but short, brownish-black. Coarse. No dog. No cat. Mantle leads no chimney, no wall to rest upon. Resting then/there is a white leather book. Gold zipper. Gold ribbon. There. As it always is. On mantles or tables. I novembered past just to stand at an edge. These are my own edges. Your edge is there too—across from me and just behind mine. In the mornings, with the edges still there, you say what I smell like, but you describe you. Displaced within room. A room that romanticizes itself and its non-existence and the existence of us and the non-existence of others. I say —Eden, you say —Yes? And I’m lettering ours and you’re retrieving yours. I held the leather; my feet sunk in the grass. Then earth and turned pages. The atmosphere turned pages. Stops. I can hear the sound of breaking glass in the distance. You hear it too, close the book. Shush me. Beckon me back to bed. We exchange moments of comfort—I push the hair behind your ears, you untangle from mine and land at the corner under sheets. Disappear between mirrors. This is characterization and I’ve begun to name things. You don’t usually agree and call the book a book, so I call the book the book. On the floor, near the edge, where two edges meet, books are everywhere, spiraling. I’m reminded of a horse’s mane, then a dead horse I saw once. You are still touching my hair. And it is December. Still. I’m reminded of all the other Decembers. You think we should put up lights or at least look at other’s lights. Isn’t it near the end? You reach your hand in the fireplace and adjust the flames. The hair on my knuckles curl. I alternate between laying and sitting, fidgeting with the sheets and coming closer to the fire. I think it is perhaps time we put on clothes. Spiral back into us. Give a name to this situation, this temperature, each material. I suggest we make our own heat. You defer, feign agitation. I trace your recovery. We trace where we believe objects are not. Touch. Get thrown off balance. We are trying. They forget what they were trying to accomplish. Backs of heads in rows. I look down too. Keep glancing to the side. In mirrors. At the book. At an ankle. And return. Bent. To bent skin and columns. And the smell of leather. And dirt under my nails. A basin of water, then undoing of the ribbon—a movement of its place. In its new place I take refuge in us. While you sleep I think of outside and snow. Of gathering and producing. Of my children. Movement within edges and walls. Then the earth and sand and dryness where we should return upon, and upon quietness and unending light. We return and clasp and turn over a word and cut and paste and cover other words and re-align a blueprint to remove a wall. Move a place. Add texture to paper and stillness by using the sound. You repeat me. Repeat my silence. Take refuge in my doubt and this place. Curl within fabric and the knots in the floor by counting the items and returning. I attempt to discover place and finger stones in my pocket. Let one slide over another. Consider the material. You say —Being with you is like balancing on stilts. —Stilts of metal or wood?Does it make a difference?Material is the difference. We consider the materials in the room: thread count, furniture, letters between furniture, Czech vases, and then a card catalog—wood drawers with metal pulls and blank labels. I search the room for paper. Pull on other drawers. Lift the carpet. Under the bed boxes accumulate. Inside one: yellow notecards. We each take half, separate to opposite sides of the room. You work much faster. Make observations consisting of old characters. Sometimes you write just one word, flipping cards quickly, consistently. I tackle landscapes. Shift one place to a story. And from now on is location. Within location I remove sharp objects, things that will distract us. I catalog and make a notecard: <distractions> on one side; knives>pins>blades on the other. I make an *, point out that these items have use at times. Make a double **, qualify blades of grass as paramount to our cause. And I am lying in the grass, and I am reminded of this (our cause). You poke the fire using a cast-iron object—I add this to the list of useful sharp things. I return to the softness of the grass—chew on a piece, undergo sweetness—and watch your knees pressing into it. You get up, cross the room to retrieve something. I enjoy seeing your imprint. You lie back down. I rest my head on your chest, press. Somewhere outside Reno, down a road, are the rest of my things. And I’m watching a pressing. Sternum, and fingers outstretched. Wonder, What things? You remind me of the woodcarving: my favorite thing. I stop pressing. My arm reaches for the piece of wood—a splinter embeds in my thumb, I leave it. Remind self to extraction. I sit and cradle its shape. Try to see myself in its unfinished form—I see you. And the paper keeps multiplying (the material we are most familiar with). But I am not here to enlist you in my paper, but to record the center of this room, and at each degree find end. I index the word end. Make a note to examine its placement. I harbor that word till morning and choose a new word that makes me feel more comfortable. You choose woods. We enter. Moss and icicles. Boots on packed snow. My lungs tighten and I want to continue the pressing, but the pond is frozen over and you want us to go out on it. I’ve seen this trick before and laugh and blush, but urge you on. Urge you to make the mistake. Urge conclusion. And I want to press the spot where your chest meets your neck. Investigate. Listen to the sound of empty. Bend the flesh. Undo and crawl. Undo and press. Find a new material. Break pines and stuff, stitch, and mend. Follow a red string back out. Touch my throat and scratch, pull a thread. Wind it through fingers—forget cat’s cradle, lattice, and mittens. Clasp and yaw. Bend forward and speak. Tell you —This is secret. Speak more quietly and do not disturb. Listen. To a creek, a break. Light. We make a fire outside and stack rocks. Circling. Your lips are blue. You quiver and scratch and paw at the ground. Forget whom you’re sitting next to. Forget I was trying to speak. You’re listening to the materials. I project our fortunes across the snow in the direction I think the city lay. And with that we return into the sometime. We hear howling—I run, let the string split our palms. I watch the moon as I move. Shifts. I want to see where the wolves feed. Follow the sound and the sometime and a coin. Take a knife and cut my thumb, leave a trail. Follow me. Let your fear of the wolves be forward. Move forward. If we find a carcass of a calf in their midst, let the snow run gold. And from that now on we’ll listen more carefully. Put an ear to ground and follow. Follow the sound of a pack and invade territory. Build on frozen streams of blood that reflect a son. Put our hands upon him ... and this is only the beginning. Strip the fur of one to make sure he finishes what we started. Keep him warm. Start here. I can hear a crying. And a rhythm. If it gets any louder I decide I’ll tell you, but for now I squeeze my eyelids closed, take a branch and draw a circle around myself—wait for you to step inside, bring him with you. And I am confused by the materials that change: snow and a carcass. —Will they still be there in the spring?Will the circle? I step outside into a flurry and moonlight. You pull me back in, move into my wrist. Cling. My arm chooses stillness and all I see is the moon. Remove water from the landscape. Remove a tree and the grass. Leave only rocks in my pocket and sand. Wear down the surface till smooth. Add a wall. Enclose and remove a sharp edge. Add an end. Tell me to hold the head of the wolf.