Genevieve’s Week 7: Ash Wednesday




As soon as the waiting room is clear
me and Gaby abandon our computers
and turn to talk about Victoria’s Secret
swimsuits – how they complement our
A-cup breasts, how disgustingly
expensive they are for our shrewd
budgets. Under our breath we curse
our mothers for our ample asses. We
giggle, but I don’t tell her how a year ago
I bought a green bikini bottom in XL
and stomped proudly along the Miami
beach with it until some guy cut me a look
and called me ‘shapely’. I’ve flipped
through a dozen dictionaries but I still
don’t know what that word means.


Last night I woke suddenly with the
frightening realization that maybe he never
even existed. I couldn’t remember the steady
shape in his face, couldn’t even remember
how to spell his name correctly –
where did the A go, or was it an O?
Hours tiptoed past my door.
It was only later as I was unpacking my
lunch, salami sandwich and bruised banana,
that I recalled: four years and some odd
months ago he led me to a room as blue
as the fluke spring rain shattering outside the
window. He laid me down on the futon
and covered my mouth with warm lips, with
the surety found in fresh-baked bread.


It’s Ash Wednesday. The birds haven’t
flown back north yet, but the sky is spread
thick like honey on toast and the song
stained onto my skin hungers for the next
lyric. I dip my forehead in soot
and mutter foreign hymns. Soon, 
soon, the cherry tree branches shiver.
I’ll keep the folded palm crosses under my
mattress, I’d wait years for the vivid dreams
of slumbering brook trout to rise to the surface.
Soon, soon, everything seems to sing, and still
the promise of thaw does not unfold across earth.

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