On the linoleum floor

On the linoleum floor beneath the kitchen table, where the old metal feet of previous table and chair legs have left rusty rings, this table has never moved, she has layed out flat and broad a large but thin overcoat with its rumpled arms casually but deliberately folded across its chest. The window behind the kitchen table comes almost to the floor. The blinds hang all the way down behind the table to the sill above the coat. The blinds of the living room window above the courtyard open and the window opens. The night air is bright, cool, and damp. Dampness covers the slick painted walls of the apartment and catches reflections of flickering light between her pacing shadowfalls high against the wooden ceiling. You remember that room, that ceiling that stops and lowers in the hall and into the bathroom in sequence, open to one another, and other rooms which you remember. You pull your dress around yourself. When your eyes fall open onto rooms, secret veiws, open windows, all of the shadows and glimmers of apartments and visitors, and long cool nights and damp bedclothes rustle together around your reedy and dusty nest enclosing you in the waste of rote memories. Why do you claim to yourself to recall what the walls felt like, how the ceiling sloped, how the moonlight fell on the brick wall across the alley. Why would you have been there. Who would you tell. Who would have seen you, but her, laying on the floor beneath the kitchen table, watching your shadow shiver across the asphalt, then slink off the street and appear high on her ceiling.

In a cool night with storms hovering offshore, beyond the sandbars and canals, damp on the walls comes only from her breath trickling out of unseen moist places deep in her dessicated body. She is there in the apartment, a matte lump in the glistening jumble of rooms.

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