by The Awl December 1, 2011 by Mark Bibbins, Editor
He Marries the Stuffed Owl Exhibit At the Indiana Welcome Center
He marries her mites and the wires in her wings, he marries her yellow glass eyes and black centers, he marries her near-total head turn, he marries the curve of each of her claws, he marries the information plaque, he marries the extinction of this kind of owl, he marries the owl that she loved in life and the last thought of him in the thick of her mind just one inch away from the bullet, there, he marries the moths who make holes in the owl, who have eaten the owl almost all away, he marries the branch of the tree that she grips, he marries the real-looking moss and dead leaves, he marries the smell of must that surrounds her, he marries the strong blue stares of children, he marries nasty smudges of their noses on the glass, he marries the camera that points at the owl to make sure no one steals her, so the camera won’t object when he breaks the glass while reciting some vows that he wrote himself, he screams OWL instead of I’LL and then ALWAYS LOVE HER, he screams HAVE AND TO HOLD and takes hold of the owl and wrenches the owl away from her branch and he covers her in kisses and the owl thinks, “More moths,” and at the final hungry kiss, “That must have been the last big bite, there is no more of me left to eat and thank God,” when he marries the stuffing out of the owl and hoots as the owl flies out under his arm, they elope into the darkness of Indiana, Indiana he screams is their new life and WELCOME. They live in a tree together now, and the children of Welcome to Indiana say who even more than usual, and the children of Welcome to Indiana they wonder where they belong. Not in Indiana, they say to themselves, the state of all-consuming love, we cannot belong in Indiana, as night falls and the moths appear one by one, hungry.
The Feeling of Needing a Pen
Really, like a urine but even more gold, I thought of that line and I felt it, even between two legs I felt it, the legs I wrote just now, a panic, a run-walk to the private room with a picture of a woman on the door, or else the line was long, too long, I barged into the men’s, and felt stares burning hard like reading or noon, felt them looking me up and over, felt them looking me over and down, and all the while just holding their pens, they do it different oh no they don’t, they do it standing up, they do it at the window, they do it so secret in a three-hour bath, they do it aloud to someone else, their wife is catching every word and every word is gold. What you eat is in it, blackberries for breakfast are in it, fat atoms of Shakespeare and Hitler are in it. The sound of water makes me need to: Atlantic, Pacific, Caspian, Black. I feel it so much because I am pregnant, I am pregnant with a little self, all of its self is that spot on a dog that causes its leg to kick. It kicked and I felt and I wrote that last line. Even now it’s happening. I eat only asparagus like arrows, I am famous for my aim. I get almost none on my hands, almost. Under my feet the streets, under the streets the pipes. Inside the pipes a babble sound.
Patricia Lockwood’s first book, Balloon Pop Outlaw Black, is forthcoming from Octopus Books in summer 2012.