Not Empty

There is a girl at a table eating iceberg lettuce.

There is a girl at a table eating a medium rare steak.

There is a girl, at a table, in a restaurant, eating the frozen pizza and cheese dust
tortilla chips of her youth.

One is full, one is empty, one is longing for you to love her better, with more obsession with more compulsion with more noise with more anger with more pity with more longing with more agony.

With more transgression, more gloss, more luxury labeling, more status and symbolism, more fill light, more
retouching, more apathetic disregard for the banal conventions of beauty. And truth.

There is a girl at a table who belongs to your body. I’m not telling you because it’s pretty, I’m not
telling you because it’s news. I don’t even know where the table is, or how to get there, or how
long she’ll be needing you this way.

I just want you to know that she’s waiting.

That I see her.

That I know what this is about.

Some Sunday

Right now:
the record makes no sound through the stereo
the numbers are not corresponding with the dial
a blue jay flies into the backyard and
the sun just walks away.

The piano does not play itself
and the sky has become so overcrowded that
we are being asked to move out.
“The last glass of wine in the bottle” is another word for “the wasted end of the evening,”
and I’ve been trying my best
to let the wind move me
ever since watching it lift an old gray mattress off
the roof of a speeding Ford pick-up truck
and ever since long before that.
Right now what I am trying to say is:
I believe in witchcraft
and small seaside towns
and heart monitors
and bird songs, as shrill and as biting as they can sometimes be.

And I believe that the wind can move me;
it seems true enough to be true
if the song needs you to hear it
if the wine needs us to drink it
if the sun can just walk away.
But this is just some Sunday, like all the others and all the rest still to come.

Right now what I am trying to say is: I think blue jays are good-looking
even though they are predatory and vicious.
Beauty and survival are not mutually exclusive
at least not in birds
although they might be in people
and whomever else.

The piano does not play itself;
the record makes no sound through the stereo;
and the sky has become so overcrowded that
we are being asked to move out,

and honestly, i have no idea where we’ll go
except for wherever the wind will take us.

Right now what I’m trying to say is: I don’t think there is anywhere left to go.
I don’t think there was anywhere to begin with,
which is something we should have thought about before right now.

But maybe we weren’t meant to hear that record
and maybe the piano doesn’t have anything to say.
Maybe we can just listen to the bird songs
and the airplanes
and the empty wine bottle—
as lonely and desperate and monochromatic as it can sometimes be.

As far as witchcraft goes, that was mostly wishful thinking.
What I’m trying to say right now is that the only magic I have ever known
has been contained in music
and survival

and the wind.

Laura Sullivan Cassidy

Laura Sullivan Cassidy is a (fairly) longtime Seattle journalist—most recently the style editor of Seattle Met; currently a fashion editor at Nordstrom—and short fiction writer/experimental storyteller. She is that person you met at that party who asked you all those questions.

Photograph by Christine MacLean

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