Chella Courington


The Bell Rang & They Were Erased

Diana kept thinking she'd turn the corner and her mother would be waiting, arms filled with purple glads--long stems like her long fingers for arranging flowers, marriages,
bridge parties at 3 pm in the living room. Wearing straight skirts and sweater sets, twelve women tallied score and sipped coffee from bone china. Smoke rings rose and circled the cards while Diana hid with Joni Mitchell in her bedroom and believed songs were like tattoos filling empty spaces. Emptiness then was being alone in a high school of 500 kids, sitting at the back of seventh-grade English and watching Miss Davis diagram sentences as if they were people on a wire--mostly solitary figures dangling on a string. Logical relationships in terms of their syntactic positions. But nothing of who they would become when their tongues uncurled and their hearts split.



In the yellow dress the little girl walked beneath the black umbrella, sky cloudless. She carried a cylinder of Morton salt, spout open as usual and pouring a trail of used tampons, balls of shaved hair, and broken needles. Fortunately, we had on hiking boots and didn't miss a step in the conversation. "Like this morning, after ten minutes, I faked orgasm," Paula said when a red BMW hit a manhole and jumped the curb.


Marcel's Pond

freezes, and girls in beige tights and sweaters skate with Swann's Way in their backpacks. Inside, the glass table is busy--Vogue stacked on The New Yorker stacked on Giselle Freund's photographs. Virginia Woolf never gives a twig for any profile after twenty: hair twisted at nape, light on water. Remember, her father said, gulls fly away from Porthminster Beach in currents above noisy factories and carriages packed with wicker. You never forget the laughter--Mother's shrill hahas from the kitchen.












Rochambeau, Sometimes Spelled Roshambo


Rock                Ball the fist & hide
                                   the palm

Paper              Stiffen the fingers & pull together
                                   parallel to the ground
                                                perpendicular to your heart

Scissors           With the thumb bend
                                                the ring & little fingers
                        Like a pair of legs
                                   open the other two



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