Truck Stop Tangent by Tawni Waters

Midnight, and thunder rumbled me awake.  Windows iced.  Toes blue cold.  I switched on the radio.  Listening to Shakira lilt on about her honest hips, I thought of the way your lips must move when you read.  I studied The Sound and the Fury, your favorite, by moonlight, wanting to be able to say something smart about Benjy and honeysuckle and bees and imaginary incest, something that might make you insist, “This Faulkner-esque muse is mine.”

Last night when you saw me and smiled with that gap in your teeth, I wanted to hang a wreath on your nose, declare you my home. That mouth. I wanted to set up a living space there, decorate it with overstuffed chairs and original prints and cracking garden gnomes (A touch of the tasteless.  Constantly classy people are so blase with their ceaseless wit and perfectly pleated trousers.  I wish just once they’d tell corny jokes for hours, confess secret penchants for plastic flowers. Top forty hits. Big hair metal bands in ball hugging leopard print pants.  A girl can only take so much smooth jazz.)

But I digress.  The mess of your hair looked like a nest.  I wanted to curl up there, lay three eggs, gold, black onyx, and marbled blue, say magic love words you could never misconstrue, give the eggs to you on a necklace.

What I am trying to say is I wanted to let your lips climb the ladder of my ribs,  board the ship of my shuddering heart, and maybe we’d get off to a rough start what with the waves and the humpback whales, but at last we’d sail, you quoting Melville, laughing all the way. We’d play plank walking games.  “Call me Ishmael,”  you’d say, but when I called you it, you’d cry.  “There, there,” I’d sigh.  “No worries.  I know your name,” holding your hand like a child bride.

We’d go inside, and I’d say something smart about tragic Caddy and her embezzling daughter, the sensitive pigs and their senseless slaughter, the water, the water, the water, and you’d forget the rest.  I’d curl up on your chest and listen to your soft heart scream.

Asleep, I’d dream your teeth.

About Tawni Waters

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