Moon face

moonKathy Boston left under cover of night. She drove quickly, quietly, no radio, no traveling companion, no map. She drove for four hours, then stopped at midnight for gas and a package of waxy chocolate miniature donuts. The first three hours there was nothing but a dial tone in her head, not even road trip music stumbling humming in the dark spaces. Not even the sound of staying at home or going to church. In the last hour before she stopped for donuts, there was a hint of a song, the hint of a chant to keep her going, to keep her driving through that night.

“I am listening to a song and the song is of death life rebirth renewal rot and regret,” she’s singing to herself as she passes through Tallahassee, through the little strangled towns of Mississippi, through the kudzu and the choking fumes of the factories upstream. “Death, life, rebirth, renewal, rot and regret,” she’s humming and it is a cheery little tune, suitable for weddings, bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras and memorial services. An all purpose melody, major here, minor there: “Death, life, rebirth, renewal, rot and regret,” she sings, and she is happy driving alone in the darkness, then happy when the sun comes up and she gets a hotel room, where she pays cash, which she thinks maybe she will have to do for now.

Kathy has a birth name that she has tattooed on her arm, in a place where most people won’t look closely enough, and will think it is a pattern of vines and leaves, rather than the name of a woman who is hiding. From the assorted consequences of being who she is, a girl who has run through an open gate, in spirit at least, and is now hiding in a hole in the wall.

If you put the full moon in a bucket of water and washed your face in it, would the tides change with every change of face, every empty and full, every push and pull for the rest of your life? Would the tides be happy to be free of you, at last, some day? Would the moon find you in a bucket and wash you up into the night sky, to smile down quietly, brightly, until the wane?


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February 2009
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