One word, running together. It’s those spaces of stillness when the memories are clearest: waking in the night, and the hematite disk that hangs about my neck on a silk cord falls against my stomach as I sit up. It is cold. Sitting in an office chair at work and out the window is a tiny flash of red on a leaf darkened only by the window tinting. A ladybug crawling. Feeling a lover’s skin pressed against mine, stomach to stomach. I can feel his breathing. Yesterday, years old. It doesn’t matter. These are the memories that stay.
I am not a hole. I have a friend who made this very observation, and so taught her little sister what, on a woman’s body, the analogous structure to the penis was, and the child went about her kindergarden proclaiming to the world, “I have a clitoris! I have a clitoris!” Damn right, you do! It’s amazing what you can learn from a five-year-old.
It is an old observation, and I don’t suppose this– I know it. I know that The Vagina Monologues misnames the anatomy, and I know that more than half of America does too. I know that the vulva, the labia, the clitoris, hell, the internal stuff like the cervix and even the opening of the urinary tract get wrapped up in this horrible little misnomer: vagina. And do you know what it means? If you took Latin, yes you do. “Sheath.” Like for a sword. Also an old observation. I’m filled with old observations today.
And you bet your ass I have something to say about that. Yes, I have a vagina. It’s made of black leather and holds my kukri blade. Because if I have a sheath, you know I have the sword to go with it. And if anyone ever tells me again I’m just another hole to fuck, do you know where I’m going to stick that blade? Yes, yes you do know.
More amusingly, and speaking Greco-Romantically, having both sheath and sword… does that make me a hermaphrodite?
The jacarandas are in bloom.
Bursts of purple above the dead woodpecker on the side of the road– his head a shock of red and ants, as the little workers crawl in and out of his eyes. The air is thick with the smell of gardenias and car exhaust, and the jacarandas are in bloom.
Never the first to wonder at these things, never the first to voice it. The school year has come to an end. There is a week and a day standing between myself and graduation, and I feel as though I’m in limbo. This is the way I’m told everyone feels after a great effort has been put forth, and then there is nothing left to do. I also feel as though my institution of higher learning has already pushed me aside. I get a little cruise about Sarasota Bay and to walk across the stage in a costume of my own choosing instead of a funny black sheet… and I get to leave my status as student. I don’t have a right to this space anymore, and there is a priveledge about to be revoked. I’m here as an employee, to have a sense of dignity and I must comport myself in a particular manner. I’ll have a certain kind of status as an alum, but right now, I’m a ghost, in between, no longer quite a student, and not yet something else. This place has already said its goodbyes to me. What do I have to say in return?