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Miller & Myers – Nov. 10

Carrie Miller and Carol Myers traded art. Carol shared this photo with Carrie:

In response, Carrie wrote this poem:

Oculus

up peers
the eye

a spiral
a window
to earth
below

above
sun and
sky drift
forsaken

the eye
waits
to see

* * * *

Carrie gave Carol this short story:

Empty Gestures

His hand touched my face, fingers moving across my cheekbone, down over my lips, to my chin. I woke and saw his face through bleary eyes. “Good morning,” he murmured, smiling.

“Mrph,” I replied. Sleep stole my ability to speak. Instead, I stretched, and felt his hand cupping my hip and sliding down my leg. Curling back up into my favored sleep position on my side, I managed to say, “What time is it?”

“About six thirty,” he answered from behind me. He wrapped his arm around my waist and pressed up against my back.
“I don’t have to be up until seven,” I complained.

“I know,” he answered. He ought to know. My schedule hadn’t changed from the two years we lived together. “I need to go take a shower,” he explained. I knew that, too. His schedule hadn’t changed since we broke up three months ago, either. I felt his body against me and I knew nothing had changed.

He moved my hair and kissed my jaw beneath my ear. Every movement so familiar. A choreography rehearsed until thought was removed, until the motions came without conscious intent. A sense memory, a body memory. “Want to get in with me?” he asked.

Rolling over, I looked into his eyes. What was I doing here? This might have been my new bed, in a new room, but I had allowed old fears to climb under the covers with me. “All right,” I answered.

We stumbled across the bedroom, into the bathroom. He turned on the water while I pulled towels from the closet. He liked the water very hot, but I let him adjust the temperature anyway.

We didn’t touch much in the shower. I barely even noticed his naked body except when we changed places to rinse in the too-hot spray. At the end, he kissed me. I kissed him back, but I didn’t feel it. I wondered that he couldn’t see the melancholy in my eyes. This is why we broke up, I remembered. Because he never saw me.

I let him touch me, let my body wake up beneath his hands. We left a trail of water from the shower back to the bed. I let him fill me, but the emptiness remained.

Later, when he drove away, I sat on the bed and toyed with the sheets. They were twisted, a tangle of hope and need, fighting against the blank white of the mattress.

I smothered them with the comforter.

In response, Carol created this photograph:

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