Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day 228: My Ghost Breath Cocoon

October 14, 2014

I woke up with grief stuck to
the bottom of my shoe today,
after thinking I had given it
a clean scrape several days ago.

Now here it was, my left shoe,
sticking with each step. Leaving
a spiderweb of goo at every point
where it met the ground. Step.

Stick. Step. Stick. How utterly
tiresome. What a bore. And
who would want me to enter
their house with shoes like these?

At one point, while stepping from
my car, I twirled, trying to break
the string. I spun and swatted, flung
my leg about. Some people stopped.

They checked the undersides of
their own shoes, breathing a sigh
of relief to find them clean. Others
noticed what they hadn't seen before,

blurry-eyed in the darkness of a fall
morning, they had stumbled from their
beds and slipped their sleepy feet into
similar shoes. Now they began twirling

and spinning, kicking and swatting,
their own strings catching in the wind
and making matters worse. Is it
possible to make such matters worse?

In all the movement, the circular
movement, undignified and ungraceful
as it was, I had spun myself, we had
spun ourselves, into little makeshift

cocoons of grief. My threads were
pink and wispy. I was hideous there,
in the middle of my cotton candy
cocoon of grief. My traveling

cloud of candy floss. "Ghost breath"
my South African friend had recently
explained. "We call candy floss 'ghost
breath' in Africaans." Still dizzy from

the spin, I steady myself against a
nearby tree, my left shoe flung across
the parking lot, its sticky string now
stretched miles long and wrapped

around me. Ghost breath. And I
curse myself for not doing a better
job. For not scraping harder. For not
giving in a buying a brand new pair.

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