Winter 03


S says: “Roast the nuts for our breakfast, M.”

Who thinks: I march like an army the dotted line blurs between me and many pure and beautiful things.

Says M replacing one coat of mascara with another: “There’s a fly on the nose of the friar in that painting. Does the painting change if you consider the buzz of the bug?”

But she means to say there are strange noises in the pipes.

She used to make lists of names: Rose, Ruby, Claire. And for sons: Peter, Daniel, Thomas. The train to work is all subterranean walls lulling passengers to sleep in ties and handbags and mouths dropping open. There are other people she might have been, she remembers running to the opera once she picked up a bug it was cold out and the men in long tassels were yelling two minutes in front of tall doors. They’d been given the tickets by a friend with a permanent flu. He held her hand in the dark it was her hand in his and then: people singing as they die and feathers. Everything is black and white in her fondest memories: the hanging gardens, the dappled asphalt. Or was that a movie with blond Italians and tennis?

Over dinner she says: “Running in the rain today I passed a fat, happy man with an accordion and heard a car crash behind me and it reminded me of you.”

She means to say: I’d like to dig my teeth into the hard packed earth until my gums bleed.

After sex she says to S: “These are the words you were always missing: sky, loft, music, dogs, pipes, puppets, war.”

He has his nose in a book and a fedora on his head and says: “Blue nude descending a staircase and I dare you to find the nude.”

Although she too cried bitterly. And she revisits in her mind a rose garden and that smell that carried her nearly all the way to wherever it was back when things were breezy and it seemed nothing at all to say exactly what she meant. When it seemed nothing at all to write of butterflies and nudity all on one postcard and to speak freely of picking tomatoes under a wide brimmed hat.

They stop in a shop. She is wearing high collars again, and heels.

Car lights like licorice whips slick the road outside the window in this weather and she is left with sounds of dogs.

On the train to work a newspaper headline in the aisle reports: Spanish Fisherman Dropped their Feet in Astonishment as British Troops Stormed the Beach Tuesday After One-Hundred Years of Wrong Turns.

She sits on the fifty-ninth floor and looks at the interstate and taps her fingernails on the glass. She writes a letter: What is it to walk away? Love treats my tongue like an oak leaf.

In the morning S says: “Hey, roast the nuts.”

She says: “I am an army I march towards the shore.”

And roasts the nuts.











Danielle Dutton's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fence, NOON, 3rd Bed, Pompom and the Denver Quarterly.