I once met a Peter and he kissed me against a yew tree, in the backyard
at George Elke’s cocktail party. We fit well together just inside
the hollow, soaked with night dew, a dozen guests swimming at our backs.
And I didn’t
have to fight for my honor, or my owner. Do you own her—own your honor?
he asked. He was salty in voice, a true raconteur but, like the tree, his
inside. His branches grew slipshod; whiskers brushed my cheek. So quick to
touch me, turn me, dine me, wine me.
It was a night in the country, a damp night; the sky heavy with whey and
we rode back to the city together like royalty in his Citroen. Windows down,
tongues wagging, down and round the dirty lanes. So fast it came, this love.
It felt as if bandits were following on horseback. He reached his hand toward
me as he drove, laid his palm flat on my lap. What do you say about slovenly creatures?
he asked, the high pitch of the road rising before us. Dust is done and dirt
is rumored, I answered, and he laughed, his face a night smile, its colors
shifting into a dark fog.
I became involved. Yes, there were reasons. We shared a home, a hearth, shared
our health and wealth, brew in the same stew. And yes, Peter was a messy
man with tangled tufts of hair left everywhere and it reminded me of bales
hay, of the muddy petticoats of peasants. I should have carried
with me at all times and I could have staked claim to his nest. He left his
clothing on all floors, argyle socks and synthetic ties in the hamper. Pots
and pans sat
in the sink; empty wine bottles littered the lawn. Trails of nails and other
droppings, drippings, and whatnot.
I’ve never met a messy man I didn’t like, especially if they pardoned
their own messes. Peter’s were pardonable by any stretch. His aged
yellow fingers from smoking and poking. The doping on the stairs and drinking
den. Dust bunnies migrated across great distances to visit him and the mites
played cribbage in his hair. We could have had a flea circus together; his
wiry mop met mine and we ran a bridge across and settled our crew in. Trained
tricked the staff, a bundle of little props for them to dance upon, tiny
chaise lounges and paper drums and miniature red fezzes for all creatures.
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