Anamorphisms

By Dudek, Debra | Hecate, October 2005 | Go to article overview

Anamorphisms


Dudek, Debra, Hecate


One afternoon, I curled myself into a corner of a pub with two books on the table and one pencil knotted in my hair. Earlier that day, I delivered this poem into the outstretched hand of my lover. I waited for a word in return. I still wait. I waited still. I waited until I could no longer wait. So I went for one drink. Two drinks. And then I went for a walk. I walked along a beach, and I climbed a subtle cliff. At the top of the cliff, I ignored a bright yellow bench. Instead of sitting, I flattened my belly against the grass and peered over the edge. Over the edge rested a ledge. I lowered myself over the lip of that cliff--a slippery kiss, a slipperier proposition--and I positioned my buttocks on that ledge. Looking back over my shoulder, I noticed that the bench disappeared, so I too disappeared. Peering forward over my bent knees, I saw and was seen by the sea throwing itself over and against the rocks below me. This moment--the seeing and being seen, the water, the waiting--it all reminds me of another woman on a ledge waiting for her lover. She rests on the shadow side of a stone pool, a stone woman in the wind. Her stone hair streams forever to the west. Her stone hips whisper the letter yes, a double curve that smooths into an armless torso. The woman stares into a bamboo thicket that arches as tall and lean as the lover for whom she waits. For whom I wait. She lies as still as that far horizon upon which a lone ship sits. Anxious for an embrace she can never return, she waits. I can hardly bear to remember her now, to recognise myself without arms, in the wind, by the water, looking into a space where I hear the sounds of my lover forever coming and never arriving. Erratically, a butterfly flutters and lands on a bamboo limb. My own limbs lie empty and absent, except in their perpetual longing. I could escape all sadness in a suspended moment of torso upon torso. Instead, I think I shall go for another drink.

Once, I met a man who seduced me with a song and a guitar. He opened his mouth and sang my body into being. Words dropped from his mouth, and he believed those words for the length of their falling. My body became the page upon which he mused, fused page and flesh. As soon as words touched pageflesh, they disappeared into me but not for me. Listening, I learned the words wrist ridge, elbow pocket, and knee cup. My arms shaped into the span of his back. My legs grew to the circumference of his hips. He mouthed lines around my eyes and defined my jaw into the letter elle. He spilled words onto a page, both careful and careless, and that page was the vellum of my body. Those words inked into scars and when I tried to name myself, he used his vocal chords and guitar strings to bind me to him. His fingers plucked a chord, and D-minor lacerated my wrist ridge, B-flattened my elbow pocket, and seventh diminished my knee cup. He sectioned my body until my limbs no longer recognised each other. Claiming containment as love, he scattered my body parts across the bars of a score. My belly sat at middle, see as the rest of my body trebled and broke into whole and half notes. He based out my bottom, sent legs and feet sprawling the lower def. Obsessed with the arrangement of sounds my body produced, he cut the notes smaller and smaller. My toes a trill of quarter notes, my eyelashes a dusting of eighth notes, my hairs a tumble of sixteenth notes. Faster and faster he played. The faster he played the smaller my body parts became even as I spread across more of the sheet. …

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