the line that cannot be crossed

perfect_slut

The narrator
Nokyoung Xayasane

There is a line
that you must not cross.
This line, you see,
is invisible.

It is formed
by your senses
your perceptions
your upbringing
your experience.

There is a line
that you must not cross,
the narrator
repeats to herself.
Her mantra.
When she exists,
she exists.
When she narrates,
she narrates.

She goes for brunch
on a July Sunday.
The heat stifles.
Her hair is up.
She orders the eggs benedict
always,
a mimosa
sometimes.
She does not take photos
of her meal.
She eats her meal.

She will sit on the patio
and look out
across the street
at a bar she went to months ago.
That was where
she had decided
to have a one-night stand.

She will be mildly surprised
at the nearness of things.
There are places
she happens upon
coming from a different direction
that becomes new
all over again.
But this one-night stand,
it lasted for weeks,
and not because of her own doing.
Months later, he still messages
her like a dog in heat
with faux courtesy
and an exhausting sentence structure,
wanting to explain something.
What?
She does not know.
She needs no explanation.
She has given him
enough of her time.
Some of them, the weak ones,
the romantics, they can’t let go.

On another night
at another bar
down the road,
she will lift up her drink
and give a toast,
Cheers, she will say,
to this old-fashioned.
I like my drinks strong
and my men weak.

She will write poems
about all of them,
and he will think
they are about him.
Finally, at last
here is something
to memorialize him.
He will no doubt
obsess over it
like he does with
everything
she puts onto paper,
trying in vain
to capture something
he never had.
She has never met anyone
so ripe for love.

Perhaps, she thinks,
he sees her
as a hidden island.
Her name evokes
a pleasurable pain.
He likes to think
about her
to stay alive
to feel alive.

Some of them love
to kneel before her
without any prompting.
Even the most intelligent
will fall at the feet
of beauty.

Sometimes it is too easy.
This bores her.
The way people
are stretched
and moulded
like play dough
by a pretty face
and a curvy body
by a quick wit
and a play of words.

She knows everything
about them
immediately.
They open for her
like floodgates
bursting
unlocked
by a single look,
a well-placed word.

You see, there is a line
that she must not cross.
She steps right up
to the edge.
Her toes
over
hang,
her heel
firmly
on solid ground,
this feeling
of safety and oblivion.
The wind blowing,
the sound of the sea rushing.
She will keep her eyes open
she doesn’t want to miss a thing.
Her eyes fill with tears
of joy of sorrow?
She has learned
they are the same thing.
She leans forward
tottering
on the edge.
She steps back.

There is life
and then
there is art.
The narrator
must remember this.
There is a line
that cannot
be crossed.

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