Why would a beautiful girl like you want to be nothing but a boring old man?
When her hands were on you it was a laying on of hands. It was not entirely unrequested but the hands were there and they were on you. The hands were on you and there were moments when she was on you but it seemed to you then that they must have been laying on someone else. That this must be a healing. That these must have been someone else’s hands.
You barely knew this body but you knew that it was not really your body anyway. You knew that this body came from that body and if that body really wanted it, well, you could just as easily give it back. You could just as easily open up your hands. Even now the difference is proximity. Garden, driveway, woodpile. You check the church for witnesses. Was it not enough to burn down the house, did you also go and pull up the fence?
You touch every body you come into contact with from the inside. The distance of you you. Then remember, there is safety. There is a diligence between the body you remember. Consistently. You pray for consistency. The ability to gather something spacious in your hands.
Your mother hated it when you tried to tell the whole truth. The details, she said, bored her. You don’t want to but, even now, you find yourself remembering not the entire story but still too much to be interesting. You were there and she was there but if you had to draw it back, you would make sure that she was somewhere else. She had no idea what she was doing there. She was 28, she was 30, she was 33. I wish you had never been born. I wish I could take it all back.
If the woodpile were closer to the garden. If what is already in the ground would simply grow itself back into a fence. Even now you know the body is seaming. It’s the kind of hunger that points through the self. The body that bends itself in prayer. The fissure that follows its own footsteps. The flood that unravels the folded tongue. Glossolalia. All languages and, therefore, none.
You know that speaking in tongues has been given to you. You know that a hurricane signifies solidity. That corrosion imitates surrender. That apology breaches regret. You know that there are bodies who wake up in other bodies. That the laying on of hands is a gift. Your mother, were she here, would want that. When she is here, your mother is an optimistic woman, a woman who wants impossible things. A falling in which you could hover. An erasure in which you could grow. A pouring in which you could sift.