Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lay Your Head Down



And what I'm thinking of just this time
Why don't you lay your head down in my arms?
In my arms.
Lay your head down in my arms.

--Keren Ann, Lay Your Head Down



She had to make it out of the money room.

Words galloped from thoroughbred tongues, all piling into her right temple. A toxic clock marked her agony, while a door bewitched her with its slinky crevices. She wondered if she could turn the knob with the weight of her—

She had to make it out of the elevator.

It was supposed to count down the nine stories. But it was going up three . . . four . . . gritting her teeth, she saw the Kabuki faces around her growling with a feral pleasure, pawing at one another with claws and precious spittle. She rocked back on her heels and touched a cheek with her free hand. It was solid. This was still living. Squeezing closer to the wall, she became aware of a string around her heart, pulling her toward—

She had to make it onto the subway.

But a homeless man needed something from her.

“Please . . . please?”

She wasn’t sure who was speaking. The voice tore off that dull blade in her head she had conditioned to sheathing. But she speared her eyes to the yellow safety line until the man’s shadow lengthened, and the shrieking train spent its climax. The engine gasped, she relaxed, and the only shadow left on the platform was something like her, with all the color leaked out. The string around her heart kept its demands. Loosening her scarf, she let it drop to the tracks and slipped between a train's sliding doors.

She had to—

No.

She wanted inside the brownstone building.

The string was taut now. As rigid, and fine, as a spider’s arrow, spinning her into a warm web. It drew her up the stairs, and through the door.

Its other end lived in the den, upon the leather couch, in a land without clocks.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

He beckoned.

She came.

The skin of her face was smooth. His chest was not. She laid her head down, two dark shadows swirling into one. The string shimmered.

And danced.


[Painting by Marc Chagall]

9 comments:

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

I could feel the string tightening around my heart as I read it.

Wonderful description!

*Applause*

Sarah Hina said...

What a lovely thing to say, Sameera. :) Thank you!

Charles Gramlich said...

Very nice. I like the surrealistic elements. Very visual. I saw this almost as a movie.

Scott said...

The words are beautiful and the descriptions sharp. At first I didn't understand what was going on, but if I am reading this right, she works at a horse track where the money is counted and desperately needs... Yes, I see it now. Wonderful.

Sorry, as I wrote the comment I was reading passages again and thought I would show my process.

Loved the last two lines.

Sheri said...

Sometimes, I hear your beautiful words, but am not always positive what they mean... Does she have a gambling problem? Sorry if I am really off? Is she being pulled to the track, but her heart strings are pulling her home?

Sheri said...

Oh - I also wanted to say, it kinda of felt like a nightmare too. I really loved the lines about the only shadow left on the platform was something like her, with all the color leaked out.

I think I might have felt that way once in my life.

Sarah Hina said...

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to reply to comments! I was out of town for a couple of days.

I'm going to be honest here, guys: I wrote this piece a few months ago, and I think it shows. I've been trying to clean up my writing, and lighten up on the lyrical flights of fancy slightly.

My thought process here was just to show that connections run deep, and are everything. Even when we don't have the time or inclination to honor them due to feelings of isolation and outside obligations, they still manage to lead us home.

Obviously, I could have made that a little bit clearer. But this was a burp from the past. ;)

Thank you for your comments, everyone!

Sheri said...

A burb from teh past - HA! Did it have an after taste too?

Sarah Hina said...

A bit garlicky, Sheri. ;)