by Nanette Rayman
Out of the rain near a forest, they’ve discovered some beautiful bones—
eaten by animals, rotted by insects, cradling a journal decorated
with lilacs and watermark stripes. There are things worse than death.
Was she an American, an actress, a dancing lawyer? Did she touch
a dark orchid in its dark lips of death? What is a woman—if fragrance
and bones and flesh are here one moment and not the next?
Does without-home double as done bones? I remember that home,
my mother whipping shame onto my face, my body—look, you!
This is what you’ve done, you’ve unraveled this house with that face
that all they boys want. I can’t have that. I remember my body being
flat and skinny, no bosoms and wild flames making me un-dead in that crypt.
They say it’s the sweetest way to suffer: the mother’s hard Allongé
as bully and decadent shamble, and so it is, a daughter holds tight
to her Arabesque. She may end up away, away from a house
supping at her bones, one by one. A mother like that, blackbird posse
of one, creates waves of dehydrated sighs, and a daughter drifts as G-d
made her—soft-lipped and pretty, past that mother, so many pains to get over.
A mother like that becomes irrelevant except as teacher to what is driven
wild, what is narcissist, what is to be avoided. And still, the daughter ends
up as pretty bones. There are things worse than death. Across the river,
a silhouette in light returns to another world, alive in her own skin, a dancer
over-under—Sus-sous—springing onto relevé demi-pointe and holding
a bouquet of orchid orchids. Home.
Nanette Rayman winner of the Glass Woman Prize, included in Best of the Net—2007, DZANC Best of the Web—2010, has published in journals such as The Worcester Review, The Berkeley Fiction Review, Carve, Up the Staircase Quarterly, gargoyle, Sundog, Little Rose Magazine, Stirring’s Steamiest Six, Sugar House, Wilderness House Literary Review.