Not knowing whether she was feathered eel or leak-sprung boot, he answered the door. She had brought him soup, had chanced to touch his fingers warm as the tongue of a sheep. Now, he was Mars reclining upon the chaise. Behind her the chair where she would sit. And there, his gesture to remove her coat. His eyes scouts for the trembling hand, and the hands, too, are scouts. She has come prepared for this. She plucked her brows and fashioned herself in garments to part the seas. She reads the titles of his scattered books. Part dog and part scientist, she gathers evidence. Finds that what lingers in the trash is more insidious than what clings to a wall. A city ends here, in this room, and in the others cradled within this brick; sadness cooked up and delivered to cluttered caves of solo citizens. These are kingdoms of solitude. Rodin would send Rilke out on missions to explore the panther in its gloom, the sculpture in its dish. Like the current from a dried up stream, she’s barely visible, but she has come through a forest of decades to piece him together. His wish? Explore her and then scavenge for the next blue fish.
Geri Lipschultz has an MFA from Iowa and a Ph.D. from Ohio University. Her publications include 5X5 and Helen Literary, along with work that has appeared in The Toast and the New York Times, College English, Black Warrior Review, and others. She also has a story in Pearson’s college lit anthology and in Spuyten Duyvil’s Wreckage of Reason II. Her fiction won the 2012 fiction award from So to Speak and she also won a CAPS fellowship for her fiction.