Movie of You
Francine Witte
Hayward Fault Line Winner

In my head-thing, length of film is all you are.† You, like an actor, smiling with your mouth-thing.† Movie-ready.† Polished and bright. †††††††††††

First time I saw you, backdrop of sun, yellow-orange skyglobe.† First time I heard you, ocean roar behind your words.† There I was, too scared to swim, and you standing at the waterline, urging me in.† Your fingers like seaweed tangle, turning my hand-thing alive. †††††††††††

Damp sand under my toes and I finally say, ďall right, Iím here.Ē And I am here, too.† Miami salsa, palm frond swish and soft words of love. †††††††††††

And then.† Film break. †††††††††††

Snap, it goes.† Just like that.† You pull away.† Your hand goes limp.† Hand-thing same as mine.† Be right back, you say. †††††††††††

But you donít come back.† All that is left is still-photo me waiting in the ankle-deep surf.† Winks of sun on the water behind me.† Dolphin screech above the waves. †††††††††††

I head back to dry sand and try to replace you.† That night, I put on my flower dress and paint my eyes.† I go clubs and watch the pretty men, flexed ropey arms and mirror hair.† I start to forget you.† I order Margueritas and learn how to dance.† Later, in a corner, a man touches my breast-thing.† I cannot remember your name. †††††††††††

Next morning, I wake up — shark of a man lying next to me in bed.† Fin stink.† I search my skin for blood bites.† When I donít find any, I am happy and sad.† Happy to escape danger, but sad that nothing touched. †††††††††††

Thatís when I start to finish the movie of you in my head.† The way it should have been and now will be.† Salt spray in our hair and sea foam at our feet.† Night comes, and the moon-thing swells up to full in the sky.† And your hand, like a dark starfish, reaches for mine.

First published: August, 2009
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