Sunday, January 10, 2010

Entry #103

A Woman Will Come
by James Silberstein


She’s gone three days now—to town, or to Mary’s, or to some hairy arms, maybe—possessed by whatever madness does.

I walk the mile and a half to check the empty mailbox.

The air welcome, a cold I can pretend for now is only on the outside.

I hear the caw before I see the black wings take off through the stand of dead oaks, long killed by mistletoe—after the kissing, it kills the tree. Whenever seeing it, I try to cut the parasite out with the chainsaw. But it’s too late for the scrubs on the other side of the highway.

No ordinary caw, replayed in the inner ear. Not an alert, nor assembly, certainly not a distress. More like talking, the way crows do when they tell you fate. Three years in northern India, a Tibetan woman taught me their language. After Crow was eaten by its shadow, it lost its sense of time—present, same as past and future.

Caw.

Later, her pickup will raise dust.

I take her into my arms, repeat our drama—sweetness, humor, the restrained embrace trying to protect whatever tenderness we have left. Restraint gives way to passion, yields to lust, until I grasp and melt into her moment. We wake from dreamless sleep to irritation. The lack of direction way out here scratches and soon we’ll be screaming again. We’ll never be doves.

My heart the kind of thing only a crow would eat.

22 comments:

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

There a quite a few lines that I loved e.g. "We wake from dreamless sleep to irritation" and especially "—after the kissing, it kills the tree". Good stuff.

pjd said...

I like the mistletoe description and the story of learning the crow's language. The (mostly) endless cycle described at the end depresses me.

JaneyV said...

I think the mistletoe analogy is beautiful - what should be a symbiotic relationship that turns into a parasitic one. After the kissing, it kills the tree. And yet it's impossible to remove once its roots are in.

In the end we understand the relationship is not only doomed but will destroy them both.

Nicely told.

Craig said...

The tired bitterness in the MC comes out really well.

Lena said...

It leaves some sadness behind. Beautifully pictured though.

Bernita said...

The time-trap of a parasitic relationship, beautifully and cleverly woven.
Excellent use of crow and tree symbols.

Scribblers Inc said...

that last line is going to ring in my head for a while...great stuff...

Mithun Mukherjee.

kashers said...

Some excellent lines that force the reader's thoughts to caw.

Aniket said...

Sometime or the other in life, everyone gives in to a desire they know is going to end up bad. Beautiful symbolization.

laughingwolf said...

very nicely done, james...

Michelle said...

Story has an edge! Superb last line.

austere said...

Liked the way you've brought in the repeat/ cyclical nature of events.

Laurel said...

This is packed with one breathtaking line after another. I love the pathetic- classic sense- nature of the piece, too. And not just the weather, all of nature reflects the MC.

Lonely and grasping.

Four Dinners said...

I couldn't put it better than Bernita so I won't try.

This is quality.

Deb S said...

Way to weave in the bird analogy.

illyriataylor said...

exceptional details, and the last line was superb

McKoala said...

Fascinating; and beautiful description.

james r. tomlinson said...

I'm all in favor of macho-writing. You've certainly hit it with: "...I try to cut the parasite out with the chainsaw." No syrupy interpretation of the photograh here. Good job.

Terri said...

This is rather depressing; but extremely well written. Your "after the kissing it kills the tree" line is superb.

Chris Eldin said...

My favorite line: We'll never be doves.
This is truly remarkable writing. Really loved reading it, each line is a work of art.

catvibe said...

there are so many gorgeous lines in this story, and the metaphors are just really awesome. Loved it.

Aerin said...



my caveat

Something I Would Keep


Something I Might Tweak


Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the Golden Globes or those wretched Old Navy dummies.