Before Him, buckets drained the well. Cheap takers never complimented the way the water reflected their image so clearly, not one ripple; never threw in a penny or two after sipping from the surface. But now I know what it means to share bodies. As I lay awake and listen to the rain, I wonder about the girls in this city walking paths I have worn. And I wonder if they know of what they live without. If they know they will walk with weary steps. I saw better life once on TV. Might I find
freedom in the country? Far from the shoreline, past the mountains, in the cat-tail fields? I stepped on a cricket once at night. If they don’t, they might never get out. All I see is the tumultuous tides, needles in the park, bodies orbiting farther from each other. There’s nothing I can do but stay here and tread water.
Last night, a rain-drop (drip) landed on my cheek and it was the first time I’ve been touched in months. I stripped down to my underwear in the light of August meteors and waited for the clouds to thicken. Drip. Drip, drop — my nails cut crescent moons into my fists as the rain touched other women’s rooftops.
I stayed out all night, till the sun broke the sky, then walked home with the remnants of our encounter — dew sliding down leaves onto concrete, tires swerving through puddles on the street (splash). Once inside, I ran to the shower and sat under it for hours. Who cares about a drought when the drip and drop of a shower head simulate and stimulate.
When the water went cold, I stood there until every pearl had run off — down my thighs like soft fingers, down the drain like best laid plans. I squeezed my hair out onto the tiles, drip, drip, (slip?). I squeezed until my hair went brittle and split. I laid towels on the floor to listen to the lullaby of the leaky sink and waited for a flood. I once watched a star burn out, vacuumed up without a sound. (Slip).
Lena Belova is a writer, poet, and activist. They are currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Creative Writing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), are the Managing Editor for pulp MAG, and the proud recipient of the 2019 PIPS Wordsmith Endowed Award. Lena’s writing explores freedom and the lack thereof, and all the resilient ways people can reclaim their identities in the face of oppression and depression.