We interrupt in different places

by Ruth Danon

Long gone, he said, there in the summer house,
so many people talking to one another in so
many different languages. One person said
nothing. One person was quiet, one person sat
alone. That's the one I'd look to, the one
with an eye out; that one knows what we're
in for. Oh, he said, was the sex good, out of
nowhere, and you know I had to think a moment.
Then I said yes, and a certain feeling came over
me all red in the face. I remember that water
is blue, that it slides against skin at the right
temperature. In this language y means water,
an algebraic way of hiding desire. You see
I am not trying for anything at this point, not
anything at all. Pleasure is something I think
about all the time. I think about ink sliding
on paper, about wood gleaming in light,
about the round cat stalking the one spot of sun
in the darkened room. But I won't think of you.
That's memory operating and hope, and the two
mixed together, and pleasure, well, there's a
way it got forgotten on me, got left out
of the equation. Gets me mad, the way wind
on a cold day makes me mad, especially
in summer, which is all of the past brought
head on into the future. If you think I'm
getting desperate, you're right.

June 6, 1998

Ruth Danon is Master Teacher of Creative and Expository Writing in the Paul McGhee Division of New York University. Recent work is published in Triangulation from a Known Point, and can be ordered through North Star Line at Blue Moon Books.