Tuesday 12/26/2006 12:00:00 AM

I was talking to the bottle. We were trying to decide on a rhyme. I was measuring its waist. Its bosom. Shopping for a dress. A hairstyle. That might flatter such a shrew. We were calculating the trash. That went into concealing the gifts. The algebra of happiness taking us back to high school. Distant chalkboards turning ones into sevens. A students into failures.

We were marking the teeth on the ziiper. As the back of her dress became the toes. The pleats in the bodice seeming to multiply as she breathed into the fabric. We folded the collar down in rote. And snapped on the heels. The stroke of razors seeming a natural progression from being beaten. Pregnant. Useless.

She was telling time with strokes of her hair. The fall of his pants. As the shadows folded at his shoes. So alike the layers of her labia as they parted to grant him entrance. Broken curtains pulled apart to let the stage consume the actors.

In the feeble dialogue we tenatively call our lives.

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