From the Archive: Phil Caron (CAROUSEL 20)
The You from Here
Last night I watched a house burn down. And when it was done only a silhouette remained, lit from inside by a heart of crusted embers. I thought about you. Afterwards, in my hotel room, I noticed the scent of smoke on my jacket. You used to call that lumberjack perfume. More thoughts of you.
I ordered food: Thai noodles and a ginger ale. I found a hair clinging to a piece of tofu, a long brown one, and it should’ve spoiled everything — but it didn’t. I thought about your summer job, that kitchen, hairnets and you.
Sleep never came and I watched commercials on TV: pimple creams, iron thighs and jerky-making machines. And I wondered, as I always do, who the hell makes jerky? Then I went to the bathroom and looked at myself naked. I did what you’d expect me to do, and it felt good; but it would’ve been better with you.
A shower, thoughts of a cigarette, and a sunrise all pink and bright and beautiful. I thought of your cheeks when you blush, and the space above your breasts where I like to kiss. More you, you, you.
The wake-up call came, but I wasn’t sleeping. I’d sifted thoughts all night. I wondered if you got my letter. Would you come today? Would you meet me in the lobby, by the fountain with the cherub peeing on the fish? Was I foolish to skip my plane and stay? I said it couldn’t be done.
I said that many times. Then my breakfast was served with a smiley face, two eggy eyes and greasy bacon lips, and I took it as a good omen. I tipped the waitress five dollars. Hopeless, needy thoughts of you.
I waited where I promised. There were two goldfish in the fountain, sad ones, close to the surface and gasping for air. Then I saw you cross through the crowd in one impossible movement, rearranging reality as you went, defying physical boundaries. Your arms opened out from your body like the fins of a giant stingray and sliced through the liquid air of the room.
And then you were close. You looked terrible and I felt better. “You smell like a lumberjack,” you whispered, and kissed me. “You taste like bacon,” I replied.
Mouth-watering, mountain moving, naughty thoughts of you.