an unfamiliar face

May 30, 2012

Dearest Clara,

I have boarded a bus bearing west—the only one that runs out of that town of ours: the E5. As I moved to sit, I wondered if the little old man behind the wheel recognized me. My dear, please understand: along this journey I am to take, I do not mean to resurface amongst the lives of any aside from myself, but I cannot deny those tiny grits of recognition sticking itself in the corner of my eye as I pass through this narrow history. I did not recognize the driver, nor have I recognized anyone since I first set foot toward the unfinished puzzle under the arbor beams of that empty church—the grit seems lodged not in certainty, but rather in a thousand blind grasps.

If I create my own history, what can I term delusion? “Perhaps succumbing to another’s history,” you once suggested.

***

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Dear Clara,

I have stumbled upon a crack spread across the inside wall of the second to last cabin down the left. I would have passed over it—my heart pulls painfully to the west, and as soon as I have fully realized this place, I feel I must depart, lest become ensnared in the chaparral of past years—but the brazen, rusting nameplate over the arch of the door frame snared my trawling eyes. It read: “Allen”, but some rough hand had carved “Dana Elizabeth” into the margin. The marks looked ancient—I would gladly proclaim them older this hill, if I were to find some solace in self delusion.

Dana Elizabeth Allen. Could you be Dana Elizabeth Allen, or rather some other Dana Elizabeth Allen, name marked up in rust with by some rough hand with an old slippery knife. I could count all the Dana Elizabeth Allens in the world and still come up one short. But what of your crack, O’ house of Dana Elizabeth Allen? What of your sheltered pitter-patter behind hollow bricks?

I have begun to shift the stone of the bricks by hand and nail. Already, I find my blood smeared upon the stones in a crimson jigsaw, of muddled form and shadowed complexion. I cannot write you and slather a half cocked Mona Lisa smile upon granite canvas in congruence, and thus I leave the history in the hands of another, and make my own.

With traveler’s hammer clutched in bloodied fist, I lay down blow upon blow, widening the crack as with the line of my modern antiquities and threaded nows. I weave a history of my own, a timeline not of Mona Lisa and Easy Rider, but of missing puzzle pieces and all the other Dana Elizabeth Allens. With your voice at my side, I have turned this hollow wall into the jigsaw masterpiece, watched the chips fall away, leaving a missing piece shaped hole over the arch of the stone, like some rough handed sea creature has parted the stone before it, slippery voices whispering out.

I write you these final verses from beneath our arch. I cannot sleep through their fetid whispers.

 ***