I do not pander, I do not preen. My mother always said my taste for solitude would starve me. Parch me too. I have my Schubert and I have my Liszt and centuries of others, Chopin for joy running down the keys like water, Beethoven for rage. But music is not the laying-on of hands. I bought a massage once just for that; oiled and stroked, finger fluttered, palmed, I could feel the what is it, cortisol? frolic in my brain. Not cortisol, adrenalin, what is it, what? A compound that comes to the surface where you’re touched. Days without talking no wonder I put my plimsoll on. No, that’s not right. My riot. No. What am I trying to say. Floaters block the words. when I dream I do it big: Who would I want to ride me? Holy cannoli, the bakery man. George Clooney with those raccoony eyes and I’ll bet some hands. My mother always said Go mingle, get your blood up. Well. How do they do it, the lovers in the woods, on their bed of leaves, how do they ever decide on who. The boat went out, years ago this was, and I wasn’t on it. Is there someone to forgive?
First appeared in Fifth Wednesday Journal
Rosellen Brown has published widely in magazines and her stories have appeared frequently in O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prizes. One is included in the best-sellerBest Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike.
She has been the recipient of an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Bunting Institute, the Howard Foundation, and twice from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was selected one of Ms. Magazine’s 12 “Women of the Year” in 1984. Some Deaths in the Delta was a National Council on the Arts prize selection and Civil Wars won the Janet Kafka Prize for the best novel by an American woman in 1984.