And then it cut, grinned and starlings burst out. I read your book on the bus. I carried it with me in my bag, lying quietly in the bits of paper and balled napkins. I kept your book because it hummed a little. It was better. I could just part the straps of canvas and listen through the crowded collective breath and sunlight. It was an essay on effectiveness, the guide I wanted. I read it on my way to the machines.
It made me give a verbal strapping to a man that was really photo-worthy. His grey face. This might have been a time to be more generous, but I was tired of being generous, so I moved through the fitness centre, treadmills whirring, ropes and wires drawn and drawn down. A woman passed with perfect red lipstick – full gloss, her mouth a brushstroke. She had four hairpins holding her bangs, and her face was full of such fine bones. I hoped she was going to make her body furious in that room. I knew she’d seen me.
I had gone to the machines to stop thinking, I really had, but the thick thoughts came in anyway, the heavy wet. I made the belts move faster and the flickering squares bob up and down. I made my body into a series of little neon screams, then little black x’s, then one long oh. I forgot to be hungry, and forgot my numb hands, but every few sweet blank ratcheting minutes, the letterboxed mash and thrust came back in intricate speed, all- channel. I sped up. I kept moving, I kept moving.
Sarah Pinder is the author of the poetry collection, Cutting Room (Coach House Books, 2012). Her writing has been shortlisted for the Expozine Small Press Awards and included in magazines like Geist, Arc and Poetry is Dead. You can find her zines in Montreal’s Distroboto art vending machines, as well as a mailbox near you.
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