I am bridging dream to dawn as succinctly as I can: fastening plot to image, locales to emblems; all of it, to the journal page. I leave the characters to re-emerge at will and dialog to assume its shape in good time.
I ignore the keys but relish the sound of their tapping, exploiting the functioning of knuckles and joints.
Caffeine is best suited to kicking murkiness to the curb and I tell myself this is verbal tomfoolery, self-indulgence disguised as legitimate exercise, the run-off of an overactive sleep-sticky mind, as whatever string of syllables I pose in place, saccharine or toxic, reflect back: words fail.
* * *
After the second glass of Oveja Negra with a hint of blackberry, after the ensalada with fennel and pear, after the ciabbatta bread with Roma tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic, after the braised short rib and exchange of abbreviated histories – three or four neutral sentences to summarize your divorce, and an equal allotment to categorize mine – after the moules marinières swimming in garlic, after a change to a dry white and your satisfied nod, after stories of your grandmother’s crèpes and your mother’s mayonnaise, it’s only natural that we switch to French, after exploring the pleasures of the palate.
* * *
I rummage through the plastic storage box beneath the armoire, searching for a draft, coming up empty.
I scan labeled folders in a metal cabinet; I discover outlines and client lists, coming up empty.
I scavenge until I find an old tape. I refuse to pop it into the dusty VCR; its starring couple was felled by cataclysms and vagaries.
Words fail, and I’m coming up empty.
* * *
After you reach across the table, after you travel the rise and dip of each finger of my left hand with your right, after you stroke my pinkie and it tickles so I laugh, after you suggest desserts and coffee, after we pick, we pucker, we savor, we sample; after we indulge in the flourless chocolate cake, in silky swallows of flan, in two cups of double espresso; after the proprietor informs us the restaurant is closing, you help me with my coat, and you walk me to my car.
* * *
I crack the thesaurus to define what you mean to me and fail, I craft a paragraph and discard it so I fail, I attempt to recreate the dream and resent the trite futility of my task as words fail.
This is why the body is a must, stripped of sentence structure.
* * *
After conversation that constructs inexplicable connection, after my hand in yours and an overwhelming sense of safety, after you kiss me and say you don’t want to leave me, after one yes that leads to another and phone calls nightly until the second date, after four hundred days of feeling cherished, you whisper good morning mon amour and I capitulate to living the moments rather than writing them: brewing French Roast for two instead of one, fetching you at the auto dealership despite the forty miles and the throbbing in my lower back, fretting over your forgotten medication, listening to you regale my boys with tall tales, chopping leeks and carrots for the next concocted soup, retrieving this sensation of family I thought long past, luxuriating as night around us, and words fail.