June 04, 2002

the hole

I'm sorry about the hole. I was looking up at it just now, up above the dresser, the shape of your thigh outlined in white plaster by the ceiling guy who never came back, never charged us, never finished the job. A half-broken reminder of that day, you walking carefully across the attic beams to get that box I wanted, me downstairs boiling water for spaghetti, then the crash. I remember rushing up, looking up, there was part of you--just a leg, just a shoe, a sock, a calf, a thigh, one leg of your denim shorts. You had become part of the ceiling and the ceiling was of you. "OH NO! OH SHIT!" I said. And you nailed it that very moment. I was moaning for the ceiling, the money it would take to fix it, the gaping hole up into the dusty attic, the insulation debris raining down into our bedroom. My words were not for your thigh, for your already aching back, for the cut sending blood down your shin.

This was the very worst of me.

If I could take it back, trade it, I would. I would forget about the house, the money, the insulation storm, the ugly gaping hole just above the dresser. Instead I would run to you, up the attic steps, pull you free, hold you, rub your thigh, help you downstairs, carefully, one step at a time until we're both safe, lay you on the bed, gently roll up the leg of your shorts, just to see if there are wounds to tend to, and sure enough you are bleeding, and I get a warm washcloth and bathe your sore leg, start with the ankle, maybe the toes, work up, shins and thighs, roll up the leg of your shorts some more, just to check, to make sure you're not hurt there, and I swab as I go, until the washcloth falls to the floor and its my tongue, just making sure you are fine, up here on your thigh, and there, and there, zipper has to go, and shorts, sure I have to check around there too, and did you hurt your stomach just there, look another hole, I should check. And you are so fine, but what about your chest where you grabbed the beam, here let me see, and I'm checking between the hairs with my tongue, and up your neck, and there are your lips, amazing full lips, and we're kissing now, your tongue so deep, and there is no more house, no more gaping hole in the ceiling, no more dusty attic air still spilling out onto our floor. There is only us, and sky not ceiling, and beach not bed, and all of your hurt is in me and I love it away, and all of my hurt is on you and you wash it away, tears absolve us, and it takes a long, long time to rub away all the hurt, and I'm riding and loving and screaming, and I'm with you. I'm of you.

And we don't finish until you come home, where I'm waiting, looking up at the plaster, the hole outlining your thigh, promising to make it up to you.