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Women in a blue landscape: a theme

Kate Schapira

Pouring awake. Mrs. Kuo, her hair disoriented. About to settle in the living room, where don't I just go. Cool gray situation. TV a violet glow saturates all through the window. Mrs. Kuo seems to clear all the water in the air. Out of rooms ahead of me, the big, deep couch, feet up beneath her, creased. I eat cereal from the snack shelf, a room otherwise empty.

We can't talk to each other. About the same size, we move through a big house of rooms, each silence a room with imploring quality, we make reflections in gloss about the same. She reduces me to large-print notes on an occasional table. I reduce her to baby talk, a strange mothering: the note when she talks to the boys more truly harassing, maternal, they live with her. Their house, their together. She inhabits the mornings, instructs, goes. Our reflections look up and down.

I can't know without talking. I walk through barefoot, or in socks, she walks through, house slippers a presence, just ahead of or just behind one another. Small sounds come free. Each room contains its reflection. Two women about the same size, same height, finger a silence apart; catch silence on the hinge, wincing as that hinge swells in the rain, as humidity dulls the dark-brown gloss, every color. We precede each other through the rooms. What difference a drop makes. What to give her for a house-gift. Two degrees move through temperature in large, plain figures, the morning follows, all the water that was in the air falls through the air. Glowing on the wall monitor across from the snack shelf. We hunt each other through the air.

The last morning follows, not even blue yet. Our language is in the vestibule, clumped up. A bowl of Fitness cereal. Bananas. Asking if James wants his flipflops. Mine under the garbage to forestall questions. Pajama pants and sweater much younger from the back, straight. She hasn't been my interlocutor framed in blue: piece of tree, back wall, corner of tile, blue between her and the light of the room. "Driver is here," when Mr. Yen arrives, we hear the engine and wet tires. She hugs me tightly. "You are good girl." More light now.

Kate Schapira

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