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Crime Scene Arielle_Greenberg

-- for Evonne

Thank you for this mess of cord which is my home. I cannot say “I like you in skirts” but I like how you and I wear skirts. My best skirt is a nest, and a fishhook. My next best skirt has a swallowed-up eye (!) into which you (or I) put our legs. Last night I dreamed about stockings. Gender just washes up on shore like an octopus sometimes. Like a crime scene, with elaborate filigree, vines, fruit (which are always women), gold leaf, palm fronds, grapes, ferns, disguises. There is a way in which a letter like this is a hand-bound object, and a way in which the song goes “Jenny was a friend of mine.”

There are killers here. What does this tell us about our attachment to process, our ego to object correlative? About punk rock moms who have good marriages and books they wouldn’t bring home to their own daughters?

Beyond everything we see there is a molded reindeer ornament by a treasured gnome. A flickering little fire inside ceramic painted logs. A snow globe commemorating the skyline of a once-visited city. A plastic ballerina in a gold-tipped bodice and real tulle skirt (!) springing up from the pink pleated satin grave of a wind-up music box. You understand. I know you do. How we all want marshmallows, cotton balls, cubes of sugar, snowflakes, clouds. How the milk chocolate melts in our hands, but not our mouths.

I have tiny hands, like those of a small girl. They can do seven or eight things. If someone (Roland, for instance) helps, they can close a plate-glass window to shut out the city we’re in. Aided by a pair of pliers, my very little hands can unspool the tenacious steel of a wire hanger, make it into an instrument for primitives, for roasting shish kabobs or jimmying car doors or performing back-alley abortions. As opposed to front-alley abortions. I’m telling you, Yvonne, I have such small hands.

This is the end. And you know what I mean by that, too.