The skin was broken, clean, throbbing, with the blood rushing out.

I reached for a towel, saw the coffee stains on it and paused to consider hygiene, strangely calm as I swooned, hypnotized still by the deep red spilling from my hand.

It ached, but not nearly so much as it had when I watched you, your scar open, red tissue exposed, endless. It seemed your entire guts would open up, that you would turn inside out and moan in pain. But you never did. You looked at me, instead, eyes wide and pale, seized by fear, seared into me as I imagined your pain, worse than my pain right now, pain and fear that beyond any desire I might have ever had in any moment, I desired to spare you, to replace with softness, with love.

I do not often write here of bruises, of the head bashed against the rock, the burning flesh, the motionless disassembled bodies pushed into emergency departments, a car seat in tow. I do not write here about the gaping wounds left by gun shots, the vomiting terror of a threat–he may mean it this time. I do not write here of the desperate faces on the street corner, the swagger of momentary entitlement as nameless human beings defy a street light, daring me to run them over as my car rushes to make the green. I swerve and I curse, and they win just that one moment, when they are not invisible. But I never write about this here.

I write about the clear days, the smile I see in your eyes when I look down at you, and you look back up at me–I cannot see the smile, the real smile, because your mouth is busy, and it is grand, oh yes grand to have such luxury in an ordinary day.

But let’s consider the blood, the oozing pain as I find the clean towel and wrap it around my hand. I can so easily share this news with anyone: my careless chopping of onions, garlic, carrots, celery, the magic mirepoix, my plans now thwarted perhaps by the mishap, the violence, the small inconvenience that is nothing–nothing–even close to a shattered life, blood that is easily everyday, everywhere.

We say it is unspeakable. But we speak about violence, remember it, gawk at it, share in its graphic tragedy. We speak of this terrible passion, that steals our souls, but we speak so rarely, so carefully, of the passion it takes from us, in joy, in love.

Do not speak.

Say nothing about pleasure.

Say nothing of gentleness, fingers in hair, of skin, open, throbbing, the come rushing out.

Say nothing, and perhaps it will never harm us.

2 thoughts on “blood

  1. Vida says:

    Well. Some of us do. A lot 🙂

    I’m surprised by your connections, in this post. Not surprised, in a negative way, I just wasn’t expecting it. Interesting. Are the two things comparable? Sensation, vulnerability, physical experience. I guess so. You should have childbirth in there – that’s something else we don’t talk about in intimate terms.

    • Yes, some of us do talk about sex and pleasure–and thank goodness! It feels wrong to omit such an enormous part of human experience when we can express violence, even death much more easily—and yet why? And I agree: childbirth is in that realm of amazing, and as you say, so hard to discuss in any more than superficial terms.

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