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Dawn Gallop

6 a.m. and my hands are flying over the keys, one eye open, the other eye burns.  On the wall a thrift store, art student-oil painting of a red poppy, igniting the shadows; the great red heart-shaped poppy, stamen, pistil.  I am writing to the Mozart Requiem again, a soundtrack for a winter day, Tess asleep in her crate, soft and beautiful Tess with her liquid eyes, her greying face; she has come in from eating the bone I gave her, the boiled hoof of a calf, the hooves salted and boiled making a savory and gelatinous stock that I will use to make chile, chile the color of the poppy.

I am one who cannot sleep, who falls asleep on her hands, so that she wakes, angry and lonely, grey hair in her eyes, glasses in a drawer.  The heft of my body in the bed, urging myself to sit up, to know that I am all right, that I am there, here, for myself, not trapped in my bed: some squalid dream fades, the past recedes and then I am in and of day:   the bed was soft and the light in the bathroom blinding.

I sit with my coffee to the flickering light of the television. Belief has fled, faith is wavering like a flame in the wind: I know nothing but the redolent stillness of this room, the opaque faces of the dolls I have made, my brother’s oil of Mt. Princeton: beauty, beauty everywhere and I want to jettison from what I have become, an old woman, a woman with grey hair, drying up:  I want to race, to ride over the sands on a stallion; I want to make love, I want to be plundered back to life but we the dog and I live on alone here, in the light thrown off by the painting of poppies:

I take a mop to the coffee stains on the floor.  I open the blinds so that I see the cars of my neighbors, frost-covered, the other apartments’ shades drawn; I want to know what they are doing in their houses, so that I know that I am more like them than not; that we dream in the same position, that we have clean refrigerators, that we have each wept in the last twenty-four hours, that we each have laughed.

Is someone else soaking pinto beans, getting out a cookbook of their mother’s?  Is someone else’s mother a ghost in her mind, sitting in a metal porch chair, waiting for a tour bus to happiness?

Tess knows our routine, that there is the long noise of my typing, the music, and that soon I will make a sandwich and go back into the room I made “to seem like dreaming”, turning on the fan, turning off the thunderous “Rex Coelistis”, the seeking:

Who is heaven and where is my love, and who writes these things….what is the meaning of bread, what is the flavor of life, when is death:  Now, turn down the lamp, the small thrift store Victorian lamp, put away the photograph of yourself in your wedding dress; hide it in the thin and torn pages of the family bible, rest.

Free writing to the challenge of 2/5/10– draw on the moment, using one’s senses. Photo: this year’s Christmas card from Om el Arab International; Sigi Costanzi on a bay stallion, in the Middle East on a horse buy.

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