It is after three. I can hear a drip from somewhere in the house, some faucet reminding me to sleep. I have turned on the music to hide it, but the beat shaking in my bones taps the same rhythm. My skull is a kettle heated to boiling and you are sleeping, responsibly, in your narrow bed so far from mine.
The storm has passed and the rain has slowed. I am waiting on a package. There is nothing at the door no matter how many times I check, not since I discovered the slip to be signed yesterday morning. I want the books inside, but I want the shoes more. Impossible shoes, lacing tight over the arch and nosebleed-heels stretching my calves to screaming. Fuck-me pumps. Fuck-you boots. Somewhere in between, the reality of life in a strange new place.
I have never been good at making friends, only finding lovers. I can only take pictures of my back, painted in Victorian wallpaper patterns. I bend at the waist and stretch imaginary muscles, pull my hair down to cover the emptiness and wear the sorts of dresses that only emphasize my utter lack of humanity. I am not beautiful, no matter what you say, no matter the wisps of thought that escape my mouth on a misty night, no matter the wideness and calm of my eyes. The vulnerable look on my face, they will tell you, is only a trap for the unwary. There can be no true feeling from someone like me.
No. The feelings I have had! They burned me hollow, they were coals scooped from different hearths and set in my skin to char. Piece by piece, how I craved the burn, the ash, the fall. Corded and caught. I have been touched by no one since. Dancing in the forest, dancing in the sea. I dance because of--or is it despite--my lack of an audience, and I will dance for you, if you are unlucky enough to be caught in my gaze. I have so many names, pet names, endearments breathed in my ear at climax, epithets, each a choked whisper bubbling from the throat of a dying man, in all the languages of the world. But I am not a threat, I am nothing, nothing, not even the wind in your face as you run.
Only a woodwife, stained dark and hollow and waiting to fill with someone else's need.