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Alchemy

November 9, 2010

I’m utterly fascinated by a woman getting ready- it’s like watching an alchemist: the noise, the scents, the colors, the transformations. I sit in the periphery watching her in her Coliseum. She is a gladiator, of sorts.

And she leaves a trail: talc dust on the dressing table, discarded clothing like multicolored molt, lipstick lips on odd pieces of paper…after she’s gone I still see her going through her paces, the squint or glaring at the mirror, the puckering, the arching, the rubbing.

After wards, I can spend hours, maybe days in her room, like an archaeologist or a detective. History or crime? A mystery not meant to be solved, surely. And I recreate her movements, follow the faint aura of smells ( the shadow of the shadow of butterfly wings), the disappearing mold of her body in the air, the remaining echoes of sound trapped  in the nooks and crevices.

And each woman, in her Inner Sanctum , her Holy of Holies, performs her rites differently.

Yet, in spite of the delicious idiosyncracies, there is a pattern, a Law. Each woman going through her motions repeats something primordial. Was it something passed down, something forever lodged in the bones? Was it a kind of learned incantation, this changing of this form into something else, perhaps into an object? Was it a subjugation, or a sly manipulation? A weaker conquering the strong, in fact, the stronger?

Or is it nothing at all, just a  natural sequence , like the tides, or the full moon, or the blooming of petals?

Looking in the mirror, what does she see? What steps up to the glass to be scrutinized ( like a mortal enemy?),  to be greeted in the reflection?

What leaves, what locks the door, what clatters down the stairs?

 


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan Scutti permalink
    May 18, 2012 10:57 pm

    love the words— “what leaves, what locks the door, what clatters down the stairs” brilliant!

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