Free Write

This entry is part 10 of 14 in the series Issue V: Summer 2010

by Bette Clark

She always apologized for her words, as if they would not measure up to something. When she let them out they danced through the air, hovering like dragonflies over a pond, not quite sure where to land but content to stay suspended, wings of gossamer glinting in the sunlight.

Once she wrote about shapes that were characters she carried around in her pocket to keep her company. These words sat cozily next to her skin, shielding her from the cold and urging her to venture out when she was tempted to stay hunkered in. There was a triangle with a giggle, a circle with an air of mystery, and a mischievous square.

This is not quite accurate because her words were difficult to catch: they moved quickly from a state of rest to one of random motion, like the light of fire flies captured briefly in a glass jar. They were ephemeral yet tangible, bursting with color yet quietly subdued. They were all these things because they were made from waves of light, sometimes like Japanese brush strokes, earth tones on an ecru canvas, barely visible yet spare and lovely. Other times they were bits of phosphorescent algae piercing black water with long-tailed comets of silvery white.

Her words were paintings in the air, not frozen on a surface, but suspended like drops of water, sometimes coming to rest, other times, evaporating, yet other times dripping like a tear. These were her words and they could not be measured.

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