This work is Copyright © 1994 Lilith. All rights reserved.


The sea is salt so it can lick at her wounds from the inside.

Inside her body is a xerox of the sea; blood holds the same
salt percentage as the oceans: 0.9%. She used to mix I.V. bottles
with percent-normal-saline and fill them with certain antibiotic
drugs for patients. She always marvelled that pure water lyses cells,
but the salt of the ocean keeps them intact. She has the sea inside
her still and it struggles against her shore. We all watch the
waves lap at the smooth sand.

The salt of her tears is 0.9% NaCl. They leave pale white traces on
her face if she lets them dry in the unforgiving desert air. She
cannot even water roses with them; they are too scarce, too
visceral. They come like a desert rain, but without the
predictability of the spring. It has always been so.
Torrents, then a long space of emotional flat.
Her blood flows that way, painlessly.
She has not bled to death yet.
We will not let her go.

Inside her, swimming in the salt of her blood are many women, most
of whom I am not. Embryonic and sometimes surfacing, we are a
chaotic group that often demand to see the daylight. We too
feed from the salt of her blood and her tears and often
we can grow strong enough to emerge, seduced by light.
There are some who have no description. Others
are easily identified. They are too, too predictable.
Every time one of /them/ emerges they open the wounds in her
body again from the strain; she is a knife-edge of tension then
and her boss puts it down to PMS or water gain, but she knows it is
just another small lesion that will heal after the blood stops this month.

Most of them cry when others cry, and make me cry as well.
The important thing is that we prod at her and gnaw her
bones to remind her that life is not normal as she was
taught, nor is it truly predicatable as she was led
to believe. Life is as meaningless and chaotic
as seething numbers strewn like dust across
the void. We are all vaccuum fluctuations.
We are inside her. She does not know.
She does not know why she cries.
She does not know where the
salt comes from. I know.

It is said that we live in a universe whose sum total of
energy, gravitational potential and others, is zero.
That our universe might be an empty bubble in someone's
cosmic gingerale. When I remember this, I rub more
salt on the wounds. That is when she cries and she does
not know why. That is when she becomes frightened.
The sea is the salt of forgetting.

i take a paper napkin and rub out the smile hidden in my words.
it was never there. it was a bloody kiss-mark.

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