I am looking at my eyes. I watch my nose do nothing, my lips are tense, angry behind a wire fence on my upper lip.
At this distance I can discern every blemish, every thing wrong in some way and worst of all I am told there is a soul behind all this.
At least, there is a brain, which, from time to time, I have been known to use…but all that does now is trick me and abuse me. I am a child again and my brain is my father, quick to go to the bottle and quicker with his fists.
When I blink I wonder if my face disappears. I wish it did. I wish I could wake up with a new face, one I couldn’t recognize, an eye color like blue or brown for me to study, lips that aren’t so thin like folded up paper meant to correct an uneven desk.
I’m not offended by my face. I don’t think it’s so ugly. It’s what else I see when I look at it that’s the problem. It reminds me that I am me, that yes, those are mistakes i’ve made, that yes, this is who i am and what I’m doing. Yes, today is no different than yesterday and you are no better off, that yes, tonight this face will fall on an empty pillow alone again.
I would move to the water where the people find me too modern and I’d buy a house of wood from an aging proprietor happy to be rid of it. It would be near trees that I could fell and from the timber manifest a rowboat to name after a woman I love. I would be on the water with the lapping waves and a fishing rod or a notebook and my mind could be water, drowning what’s too heavy and rising all what’s light to the top. Yes, if I could be water, that would do just fine.
What water? what water? my fingers pass along the water’s edge, parting it just so, an undoing of a thing, a scalpel against a seam and a seamstress following along to restitch the cloth uncomplaining.
If ever I looked at my eyes the way I am now in that small cabin by the sea, I could take what’s mine and sail downstream toward unlimited elsewheres.
Over time the water will rinse her name from the side of the rowboat and the water will welcome me like an old friend spurned with open arms and I like other weighted leaden things can fall beneath.
But I have learned that closing my eyes does not disappear my face.
I don’t know what others see, but I suppose it can’t matter much.
I run my hands across my face, the hair won’t behave. I let the faucet run and wash my face and droplets hang on my beard before disappearing downward like a tear and I think, yes, if I could be water, that would do just fine.