Philemon Steed #3

Photo of city

***

Luzanne Sistrunk was on top of me. It was her turn to be the boy. Gravity worked in her favor, pulling her down, down, down, on top of me. She was bigger than I was. And really plump. I didn’t mind. For about ten minutes. And then I tried tossing her off but she wouldn’t budge. There was no moving her. I realized then that I was inside her. How could that be? I was only thirteen. Oh no! My little ricardo was lost in space! Sucked into the inner sanctum of Luzanne Sistrunk. At last we were one. Not Jesus or Mary or John the Baptist could stop us now. We were doing IT. I started getting nauseous. Maybe the saints weren’t against this after all. Maybe they actually helped it happen so I’d see how really sickening it was. Because I was definitely getting sick. I loved her so much. Plus I couldn’t breathe which made me feel even sicker. Her chest threatened to collapse both my lungs. And that mouth, half-open, turned towards mine, reeked of tequila and cigarettes. Wait a minute!

My eyes flew open. Reality hit me. Steed, you’ve been dreaming. No wonder I couldn’t breathe. Estrella’s body smothered mine, not Luzanne’s. Somehow during our violent wrestling she’d unleashed herself from her iron bra and girdle. Her dense flesh sucked up against every part of me except my face. Once again, I had failed. Once again, I had disappointed every corpuscle in my body that desired someone physically superior to myself, someone so gorgeous I’d know for sure they were out slumming if they got in bed with me. Once again, goddammit, I had balled my mother’s oldest, dearest friend—my own godmother, Estrella Vespertina.

As I crawled out from under her, she sloshed to one side coming dangerously close to the edge of the bed. There was nothing covering her. We never needed a sheet much less a blanket. Her skin was perpetually on fire. I stood staring at her. One thick arm hung over the side of the bed as did half of her breasts and belly.

I went into the bathroom and threw up. Then I showered the sweat off my body. Estrella went right on sleeping, dreaming in Spanish, I’m sure. When I had dressed, I kissed her good-bye on both eyelids. They were the only part of her that was cool and dry. Her hard, crystal eyes twitched madly under my lips. During the night all three pieces of the torn-up cigarette had traveled from her cleavage to the foot of the bed. With them I made an arrow pointing towards the door, and left.

***

Marsella is a terraced town on the Cuaca River.

Balloons float on tropical fumes.

The balcony fills with orange balloons.

They lay heavy in a sagging bed,

A circular fan overhead, clicking.

It was a day for love.

It was a day for baths.

Sunday’s parade passed below their window.

She left his arms to take a look,

Perching like a pigeon on the rail.

A streetcar clanged, bursting with eager faces.

Men crowded the oyster bar.

The streetcar overflowed.

She posed like a whore on the rail.

Spanish songs hung in the air.

Sounds of marimba drifted in the air.

And down river, a headless man—

No hands, no feet—

Rolled silently onto shore.

To be continued….

Read More by Renee Walker

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