Medina.

It is often said that Medina was born mad and speechless, 
Her red-clay lips meeting each other like lovers but never loving themselves enough to make any words. 
Or perhaps loving themselves too much to give in to the coarse cigarette claw of speech. 
Perhaps,she was after all wiser than all of us. 


The slippery black coal steps of the old library was home to her first nightmare and her grumbling stomach. 
It rained and they shivered in the cold like outcasts - like words that were not meant to be said. 
She was seven when her destitute mother realized that the child she bore to a cursed man was also cursed. 
Medina,though unable to see through the thick darkness,knew when her mother left her. 
She knew because she no longer felt like ice sprawled lazily on aching teeth. 
But she shed no tears for she was not remarkable. 

The man who carried her blue,ultrathin body from the slippery black steps was called Billy. 
More than anything,it was a name she wished she said. 
She wished she said it in slow intervals and then she wished she said it upside down and brushing her teeth. 
Billy had the face of a man who when faced with good reason would stop his own heart. 
But his heart beat for many a year, 
In short gasping rhythms as if it drowned. 
Medina heard it anytime his caterpillar hands carried her - it ran through her entire body and made her own heart respond in eruptions. 
The day Billy's cold body was lowered into the earth,she wanted to call his name and make the sound ricochet off the walls of her moth and into his chest but she couldn't for she was not remarkable. 

Having lived eighteen years,and found no better use for her hands than to caress whispering tree barks and dusty book shelves,Medina's fingers had the slow,acrid scent of firewood. 

Jerry. 
Jerry was tall and his lips were crusty and bulbous. 
After their first awkward kiss,came many first awkward kisses. 
He was a sunset that kept replaying itself in the back of her throat, 
After another first awkward kiss he told her a simple truth in less impressive words than this - She was not remarkable. 


It was a truth she came to know very well because it violated her. 
Time and again, 
Slicing her protestations with every cold,painful thrust. 
She stood under tired moons whose backs ached from tossing and turning, 
The forlorn creak of her spine was a bewitching sound. 
And it only seemed to remind her that She had failed. 
She knew that the function of days was not for second chances but for finding the broken pieces of a belated gift from a giver that liked to play games. 
But her eyes were sore,and looking for things was never her favorite pass time. 


At 32,Medina found aquariums exciting, 
She bought two. 
She watched the tiny,bright creatures move in the water like indecisive fires. 
A fire came rumbling down one afternoon,his name was Pete and he wanted a glass of water. 
He burned her like a shy fever,arousing her desire only to retreat through the spaces in his teeth. 
She found that unlike trees suggest,Love was not a fruit you picked in ripeness for it tasted better when immature. 


He knew where her words lay nested. 
The way her ears perked up to tell a bad joke only his fluorescent eyes could understand. 
He spoke a language that was not too different from hers. 
And they made no sounds when their laps locked in languid lyricism. 
They let their nothings undress in privacy, 
Revealing parts of themselves the other did not know. 
Jagged edges falling into their places. 


Slightly tilting her jawline and raising her eyebrows,Medina told tales in a way they were never told. 
Stretching each scar to reveal a poem. 
Her bruises were famous for their haiku. 
But he grew wise and tired,too wise and too tired. 
Her words now choked him, 
Caused him to writhe and scratch at his windpipes. 
And so it was,that with one last joke,the fire vanished. 
But its shadow stood,still. 
A reminder that she was not remarkable. 

But that,that was all too long ago. 
Now on this drunken December, 
Padded walls groan their discomfort in her failing ears. 
As thirty one cicadas sing their ugly song, 
Medina remembers the faces of the men who could have loved her. 
Men whose ribs could have poked hers until she forgot what it felt like to remember. 


The clock strikes twelve, 
And Medina's hand goes limp. 
The padded walls cease their groaning, 
As her ghost whispers into the ears of a bleak January morning. 

- JSL

The End

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