What you knew: how to anesthetize a smallanimal without it seeing the glint of needle.Sculpt perfect blue lunettes and dark kohlover the eyes; launder black lace; rise earlyand stay up late; quell heartbreak, hangover.Coax a cork or cactus bloom. Plump a soufflé,dodge a Bible thumper. That year, my petitereckoning: a man-child to whom I’d beenbetrothed called it off late one night, in a fitof rage, as I lay down to sleep. For weeks,I dozed upright in a shabby sublet wherethe lights arced and fused, drunks carousedin the alley, and silvery bats flew down fromthe chimney. To you, I brought a draft-horseheart, its plodding illogic circling the emptyshape of its own yearning. Freud, we agreed,had few things right. Not Rat Man or poorDora. But id and ego as horse, uneasy rider.
The armor of amourpropre donned, as adults,learning self-regard as if by paint-by-number.We talked Heidegger. Blared the Pogues whilethe tabby cat hid in the closet, and we pouredeach other nightcaps: two women, determinednot to fear living, the alphabetic rune of scars.