Entertaining Ray

Inventing Ray, I fail over and over.
Nothing sounds right. Or true. Except
hunger. Terrible hunger. Even in
the womb I see him, mute mouth moving,
wanting. In the middle of his time
inside me, he held himself perfectly
still and did not look down, but rather
stared straight ahead at blank dimly
lit wall. His face remaining, the way
I see his face always, a face without
expression. Providing no clue to what
he dreams at such times. Do you bowl,
he said. I said, No. I said, No.
I see him now alone at night in the alley.
The forced fall of pins. Line after
line invariably neat and polite as nuns
wearing convent posture. The involuntary
sound they make going down. Ray is
wearing what he always wears. Ray's
clothes do what no one else wants to do.
Hold him. Hold him close and keep
on holding. His narrow body loosens
only in moving away. I leave him there
leaving. As he turns, something haunts
in the way his shoulders shift, sloping
toward an exit. This mask Ray wears
he was not born with. Some things
the womb refuses home.

Frances Driscoll
Contents | Mudlark No. 2
Parochial Air | Vocabulary Words