Papeles de Resurrección (Resurrection Papers)
When I was pronounced dead at the scene
I'm legally blind (many are), always in a car too late, afraid too fast I turn away, now suspects walk the dead line none can cross this tape or crime scene, logic of commerce as when one exists the other cannot, air twined around so many disappeared so much dust so bear the news you could not bear inside the room of desire and airy knives and knots all hung and webbed appearances in the fire room, water room, cloud room, hunger and thirst room, pulse room, sex room, war room, the infinite room of palms and cats, bone room, marrow room, magenta velvet jade eye room in my body the throne I try to cross.
Couple marries then takes plunge/ thirty-four wildfires burn unattended / teens torch stolen cars for kicks/ a toxic mix defining moments:/ mother perfects her amnesia / daughter surveys her performance: / "I went into a black booth, they gave me / some lines, and I read them"/ that toxic mix of guns, drugs / a million panicked animals/ blood senses race in the odd / present tense the news employs/ in Kosovo bombs slam a cemetery / killing eight mourners, anarchy / thumps in the chest with that / girl who used a train "to be with angels" / daughter signs for milk, water, gasoline / that toxic mix defining moments / cracks even gravity can't fill:/ "I'm one of you and being one of you/ is being and knowing what I am and know"/ she eats white bread and butter, drinks / the milk, inhales the bliss between being/ and knowing, floats on fire, water, air, / sails naked, tv on, certain she's in / paradise, tested every minute.
Reading Anna Karenina one afternoon, she looks up and sees her father enshrined in a pneumatic Barca-lounger reading This Side of Paradise. Smoke rises from the ice in his glass and the cigarette hanging from his mouth. Clouds waft above his head. She tries to make out the signals. Already the chair moving, not tilting back as it should, but rising like the chairs in barbershops. She can smell the street on him blending with Bay Rum, and rises up on her toes like a dancer angling toward him, but the overstuffed chair sprouts wings, suddenly a wing chair, oh no, rising higher! She runs to leap, to climb in. Up and up the chair ascends. Her legs not moving fast enough and now she can barely lift her feet with the big, brown shoes and thick laces double-knotted so she won't trip. On the x-ray machine at the shoe store, the bones of her feet curved in blue. The shoes weigh a ton. On the end of her bird legs they stick out like barrels. Get them off, untie the knots, quick, get them off, quick, jump up! Her legs are withering, smoke burns her eyes. She rubs them. The chair is gone.
When Grandmother Eliza arrives in a big black car,
Mother opens the front door. The pheasant feather in Grandmother's hat bobs up and down in the doorway. At her feet, beautifully wrapped gifts beckon from their bags. From the stairway directly behind the door, the girl sees everything. She waits at the top of the stairs in a white nightgown, seen but not heard.
"No, you can't see her," Mother says at the door. There's something spoiled in those bags.
The girl hears Swan Lake, owls, doves, sparrows, dogs barking, Chopin's "Prelude in C Minor" on the silver upright piano. Mother knows best. Once the girl unwrapped all the presents under the Christmas tree in Mother's office, and saw what was really inside the empty boxes.
"Then I'll just pretend she's dead," replies Grandmother. She turns to go. The gifts at the door heave in their bags. The feather disappears. The car pulls away.
The girl hears Swan Lake, owls, doves, sparrows, dogs barking, Chopin's "Prelude in C Minor." The gifts disappear.
The girl, now dead, was an angel then. Candles were lighted and prayers said. At Christ Church they dressed her in white, an acolyte's robe, extending her arms behind to locate her shoulder blades. Great, drooping wings of silver foil were tied around her waist. On Christmas Eve, they positioned her on the sanctuary steps.
Enlaces: Patricia Díaz Bialet