I wipe off the crust the rain has left behind

on my little window on the world of mud and dreams.

I am at odds with my past, present, future.

I practice.I sit.I play.

I do not work.

There is no work.

They tell me that play is

the aesthetic sublimation

of laborís constraints.

So how do I play?

I smoke.I drink.

I refuse to dream.

Life is a closed door.

Our apartment smells of trash, stale rooms

and the murky water that runs one hour each noon.

Diesel smog is another excuse for dawn.

The baby I never have will not cry for me.

I hoist myself onto the ledge overhanging your apartment.

You know I cannot live.

Donít cry.Iíve already told you, papa.

Tomorrow is not for me.

Donít ask me to live to crumpled over with worry.

My barricades will never hold.

My armor is an illusion.

Donít cry.I canít protect myself, papa.I never could.

And so you understand why Ė

Why I play, play, play Ė

weaving codes into my metaphors,

symbols into my desperation.

In a woman, self-destruction is beautiful Ė

donít you understand, mama?

Donít cry, mama.The beauty is in the forgetting.

I will be what you always wanted me to be.

Vibrant, immortal, a memory --

a photograph young, perpetually renewing;

not the reality

a mirror on a headstone

my young brothers gazing into dawn

our eyes frozen blue and white;

paralyzed by an infinite sky.


Susan Smith Nash

February 16, 2002