This bed is a ship

This bed is a ship is a sporadically updated internet journal, 
a home for odd scraps of writing.

   I’m sitting on the bus going south and I’m looking at the women outside. There are so many of them, women. We are about to pass my old apartment. I am tired. Teenaged Mexican girls are holding their younger brothers’ hands, crossing in the middle of the street. Their eyes look familiar. There are scarecrow white women, a layer of powder tucked into expensive boots. There are girls who hide their eyes behind their hair.
   I remember, years ago, a cigarette in the middle of the night.

   I stared at her photograph before I walked out the door. I couldn’t see her face, just that body and the tiled wall. I couldn’t imagine the face I saw on the school bus each morning, I couldn’t imagine that face and that body in the same room. Her face looked tired, pretty yet petty and uninvested. But her body, those breasts, hyper-saturated, shower-wet, her body was full of electricity I wanted.
   I thought to myself: we will meet mid-way between our houses. We will be the only figures in the street. We will light our cigarettes, and when for the first time she takes it from her lips I will kiss her, I will pull the smoke from her mouth.
   We stood there in silence. In the streetlight I could see the makeup on her face and I thought, how can I kiss her if she won’t show me her skin? Her arms looked thin, I wondered if she was cold. I wanted her, but I didn’t want to try. I felt underdressed, I felt awkward, my cigarette was almost done and what could I do but say good night. We may have hugged, all bony shoulders, joints clacking against each other, flesh tucked back, I don’t remember. I best recall her small fingers, casting in the night air, and the wish to keep them warm.

Sid Branca