Alone this placid Saturday afternoon, I lie on my bed with the windows wide open. From the streets below, the shouts of children shoot through the room, a levitating celebration. I've been reading blind Borges' Atlas, his impressions of travel that begin on the ground and balloon into the clouds. I stop reading to write; I stop writing to listen (taxis accelerate with a spray of sound); and then I am masturbating, raising my pelvis to an imagined mouth, a flower is melting, and somewhere in a sea far away from here, there is an otter floating on her back (wet fur catches sunlight in a certain way) and on her belly she balances an oyster that she eyes, then swallows.
Has silence always been female? In the secret Convent of Santa Monica in the nun's bedroom, the cube of time rings, the only sound. The narrow wooden bench on which she slept is adorned with instruments of torture--the leather scourge, the crown of thorns--each night she must have closed her eyes to weathery clouds of pain and purity, purity that any day could slip out the window like a lost god, spiraling into the sky. Luckily there were only a few slots for windows. Luckily she had never even seen the door that led outside. Draped in white muslin, I see her there, in the corner of her little ledge. She holds her knees to her chest, eyes squeezed shut. Like a patient tiger, I kiss her wounds.