November 22, 2000

I feel curiously blank today. Empty. Like if you were to pop open the top of my head, you would be able to see clearly the inside of the skin on the bottoms of my feet. All my inner parts are missing, and I am weightless with their absence. I am nothing but a hollow skin.

The noise of the train rattling down the street bounces around inside my head, echoes in the spaces of my hollow self, reverberating most where my stomach used to be. The train is gone, over hill, around corner, and I can still hear it, still feel the pounding in my feet.

I am on the verge of dissolving. Just the right breeze or scent or word or touch and I will puddle here on the sidewalk between the coffee shop and the day spa. How these conversations will slowly cease, four benches of people lowering their paper cups of coffee, their words fading to silence in midsentence, looking at each other, question marks for eyes. The bearded man will let his proposition to the hairdressers go unpunished; new mothers will look up from their children, streams of nonsense suddenly thin on their tongues. I am nearly invisible, and it is only my liquefaction that will interrupt them, although they won't really know why. They will shrug off a chill, shake their heads, and stumble about in search for the threads of their abandoned conversations.

Even if I don't dissolve, I am still fragile, brittle, moments away from crumbling to pieces. Strike me just here, tap me just lightly; I will ring briefly, a person-shaped bell, then fall apart. My fragments will be silent, transparent and thin, dead-leaf dry, crumbling to dust in the passing wind, between your curious fingers.

I will fly away, scatter before the sunset winds, dribble down between the pavement cracks. I will be everywhere, riding the whim of the breeze, and I will be gathered here, feeding the stubborn bits of green that grow in ruptured sidewalks with the poor nutrients of my soul. They will spurt up in the first wash of my dissolving self, then hesitate. The longing to grow swift and large and vibrantly green is there, the desire for sun and sky, but it is laced with the bitter flavor of doubt. In the moment of indecision, balancing the burning need and the question of place, all will be lost, the fresh green heads ground low in the idle shuffling feet of the coffee drinkers as they settle back to their revived conversations.

They will not hear the note of sadness, my fading sigh upon the wind weakly shifting their hair as I feebly punish their heedless cruelty.

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