Walking on the Spiral

She is dreaming, a scene out of her childhood, but wrongly, a fictitious scene, one that never happened. She is walking through an arcade with her father, and she is very small, perhaps three or four, too small to have a good understanding of what her father is. She knows he’s big.

(Her father died before she was born, carried off by the war and a tragic inability to urinate in front of others. The mustard gas carried him off…)

The lights are very bright, the noises very loud. Every face is evil and reddened by the excitement. She knows something is going on, something horrible and fascinating, and that she is too small to see it. There are legs and backs all in front of her.

“Pick me up,” she pleads. Her father looks down at her, his face blurred and indistinct in the smoke, and purses his lips, disapproving. It is very important that he approve of her, very important she see. She dances about clumsily, torn, ashamed and defiant. “Please?” Her voice is suddenly small, no higher than her knees.

(In her sleep she sings an old song. Her lover rolls over and nuzzles her quiet.)