Sunday, February 06, 2011

Redder Than Diane's Lipstick

The paper blot melted on my tongue in a piazza near Lake Cuomo. The man at the next table tapped his glass of Pernod and water at my ear. Did he know? Did he see the guerilla girls catching their blood in glass vials and spraying the canvas pink? Did he taste Pernod in a paint bucket? Diane MacPhear said her father was reincarnated in the old flesh, cracked and blue from blood thinners, skeletal fingers, and bulbous nose. He stood two days in Ethiopian tea, Diane said, with a reduction of rubber bark. On the third day his flesh turned pink and he flew to Our Lady. We flew behind him. Rains washed away baby powder, roughened our skin. My arms chaffed with the currents. But I knew all the Pernod in Italy would not keep us up. It wasn't a matter of drugs. It was a matter of time before my skin would slide from the bone like the skin of the girl with the fat face in fourth grade. Epithalamium tissue moved in waves from the forehead over the eyelids and down the cheeks until it hung like a colostomy bag under the chin. Her Cherokee bones glistening.

First Published: Gargoyle (Summer 2010). Eds. Richard Peabody & Lucinda Ebersole.

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