Praying hands on a cedar box. I kept it empty, because nothing seemed important enough for it. I liked to close my eyes and sniff the wood. With my eyes closed, the box was a forest and I was inside.
My husband tells me I’m a target, the way I lean forward, courting everyone. We are just married. He thought that was all for him. I tell him that the world is my target. Everyone will love me. I read about Marilyn, how she wanted to be the most beautiful woman in the room, and how she was. Even though she wasn’t. I don’t want to be the most anything, I say. Good, because you aren’t. He’s angry.
My impression of Marilyn, my husband tells me, was that she acted with her lips.
He wants me to tell him something I don’t tell everyone, some story that hasn’t taken shape yet. I tell him about the cedar box. Is that true? He asks me.
Yes, only I’m not sure about the part where I close my eyes and there’s a forest.
But that’s the best part, he says.
Well, it’s true now. We are lying down on a mattress with the covers pulled up to our necks. My dog, now our dog, wants to climb in bed with us but there’s no room. It’s a twin. Lie down, Daffodil, I tell her.
I take my clothes off under the covers. It’s cold. With my eyes closed, I can feel him better. He smells of smoke and musk. His heart under my ear. I’m not drinking again, I tell him. I won’t tell any secrets to anyone but you, ever again.
He’s falling into sleep. The dog is snoring. I want to get up, get out. Go out in the cold and walk to a bar, where there’s a only a few and I don’t know them.