After Some Time
by Sheri Rysdam
I start by sharing an idea, something about solitude, or suicide, or that time I felt beautiful only to find purple wine on my teeth, and you are nodding absently, perhaps agreeing. I show you a few other things. The vase I thought was pretty, but being pretty seems so stupid now, and I show you the rambling houseplants with yellow leaves, some dried, some waterlogged and suffocating, in cracked pots leaking onto the wooden bookcase and wrinkling pages over the course of years and years and weeks.
We eat meat from the farm that is wrapped in paper, and the venison tastes gamey, but we always eat what we kill. I show you the sagging mattress and the clothes with holes in the armpits and at the seams, and the dusty mementos that remind me of my grandmother, of my mother, of me, and you can see the greasy dust under the bed and the couch, my skin, and I haven’t cleaned the top of the refrigerator with the film of black scum, and black mold grows in the shower, and the garbage stinks, and all of this I show you for what feels like years and years and months.
At last, you turn on the light, and you see that I am tall and pale and slender and also dimpled and round, and there is a freckle, and my breasts are perfection, but up close, and my thighs, and the dry patch, and the rough patch, and the hair, and you smile and look closer. I use my first and middle finger, and there is light and the ocean and the function of a human body with blood pumping harder now than before, and this offering takes weeks and weeks and months, and just as I am finally with you and we are together, reaching something new and better, there is a pulling and a zipping, and the sound of keys and a wallet in the pocket, and the phone off the dresser, and the sound of the door shutting goes on for what seems like weeks and weeks and years.
Sheri Rysdam lives and writes in Utah. She earned a PhD from Washington State University and now teaches writing at Utah Valley University. Her blog is www.sherewin.com.
Image: Dying Plant, by Mark Smith and Annette Evans. Used with permission under creative commons.