May 25, 2015 Comments Off on Open the Hollow By Shannon Blake
It’s autumn. Another season decays and there’s still no place for us to go. Together we sit in the grassland, wait for the wind, wait for the rain to explode from beneath swollen clouds. You shift against the tree and look at me. I pull my hand away before you have a chance to reach for it. Leaves crunch from inside my coat and something small crawls around my stomach, down to my waist, but I’m too tired to scratch it away, too tired to care. Cars pass by in the distance, splash muddied water from the median to the cars behind them, to the broken lines on either side of the road. You link your arm in mine and fall asleep; let your head rest on my shoulder; mumble slight to the crease in my neck. If I get up you’ll ask me where I’m going, and even as I feel the first of the rain slip between the hairs of my scalp, I’m not sure if I have the energy to lie to you again today.
Last night beneath the bridge when you held me close, I moved away from you. Ducked soft from under your heavy arm and walked to the truck stop. I won’t tell you what I did because you already know, but I ate the sandwich offered to me; slept on fluffed blankets in the cabin of a musky trucker. When I was half asleep, the skin of his arm could have been mistaken for yours, but he didn’t push his face into my hair like you; didn’t squeeze tight along my ribs to keep me warm; didn’t whisper, “please, please don’t leave me,” in his sleep. I woke early from him, stole his tossed aside shirt for myself and came back to you before you ever realized I was gone.
The whole of us is made of secrets and shame, and even now I wait for a hollow to open up so I can push you inside, have the walls cave in behind you. We gave everything for the wrong things. Our houses are dark and deserted now and we walk aimless along the road, waiting for something to happen. I pull the hood over you to protect you from the rain, and as your sleeping head falls to my lap, I see the mountains in the distance. After you wake I’ll lead you there, down to the valley and inside a cave. I’ll tell you lies I have stored for the questions you’ll ask. If there is a hollow in those mountains, it will open up and I will take you inside.
© 2014 Shannon Blake
Shannon Blake is an English Instructor at the University of South Carolina. She has recently completed her MFA with a focus in Creative Writing.