Tuesday, October 11, 2005

for sarah to read, and soon to be deleted

hi sarah,
you little hussy.
i didn't write this--margaret atwood did. but i wanted you to read it because you're all youngified and whatnot and i think you might need it.
so here it is:

Those ones. Why do women like them? They have nothing to offer, none of the usual things. They have short attention spans, falling-apart clothes, old beat-up cars, if any. The cars break down, and they try to fix them, and don't succeed, and give up. They go on long walks from which they forget to return. They tell trivial fibs. They don't put food on the table. They don't make money. Don't, can't, won't.

They offer nothing. They offer the great clean sweep of nothing, the unseen sky during a blizzard, the dark pause between moon and moon. They offer their poverty, an empty wooden bowl; the bowl of a begger, whose gift is to ask. Look into it, look down deep, where potential coils like smoke, and you might hear anything. Nothing has yet been said.

They have bodies, however. Their bodies are unlike the bodies of other men. Their bodies are verbalized. Mouth, eye, hand, foot, they say. Their bodies have weight, and move over the ground, step by step, like yours. Like you they roll in the hot mud of the sunlight, like you they are amazed by morning, like you they can taste the wind, like you they sing. Love, they say, and at the time they always mean it, as you do. They say lust as well, and disgust; you wouldn't trust them otherwise. They say the worst things you ever dreamed. They open locked doors. All is given to them for nothing.

Hurt, they say, and suddenly their bodies hurt. Death, they say, making the word sound like the backwash of a wave. Their bodies die, and waver, and turn to mist. And yet they can exist in two worlds at once: lost in the earth or eaten by flames, and here. In this room, when you re-say them in your own words.

But why do women like them? Not like, I mean to say: adore. Remember, that despite everything, despite all I have told you, the rusted cars, the greasy wardrobes, the lack of breakfasts, the hopelessness, remain the same. Because if they can say their own bodies, they could say yours also. Because they could say skin as if it meant something, not only to them but to you. Because one night, when the snow is falling and the moon is blotted out, they could put their empty hands, their hands filled with poverty, their beggar's hands, on your body, and bless it, and tell you it is made of light.

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