Women’s Day: CLARICE, CLARICE

CLARICE, CLARICE

by Kelsie Renehan

I would then stretch out my hand ….
A plant you’ve nursed from infancy grows so large it reaches across the room towards you.
This, in itself, is a reason for getting up. There are things to water here.
The windows are cool and black and reflect your own face. The neighbors across the street
are backlit, walking across their kitchen, to the sink, to the table, easy circles,
Because it is night,
they pace from left ear to right, superimposed. A little tired.
You think, God, I wouldn’t even be able to tell if they were naked, so tiny
and far. They could be wearing anything. They could be frowning, faces distorted,
angry. They, too, could be watering many-leafed plants. You think, if you just wave,
because I am alone in another’s night,
maybe you could know, as foreign as knowing God. “If she weren’t so confused,
she’d have taken an infinite liking to the thought she’d had after two hours:
‘Well, things still exist.’ Yes, that discovery was simply extraordinary.”1
Well, they must. There was the fact of the dark, endless green, and,
because this silence is much too great
to make a sound of your own, the incoherent buzz of the fridge just breaking through.
The moon fell into the open bed sheets like sand, and it lies, you think,
rather nicely there. And such a shame that the neighbors can’t know how it looks
from just here, on this side of the wide street paved with curved stones
that someone, somewhere must have broken apart or shaved down just
for me, because
you’ve been known to trip on sharp corners. This, in itself, is a kindness. Sometimes,
the leaves are swept into small hillsides, the dirt beneath the trees raked, though
you hardly ever see it happening. Someone, in the kitchen, is making dinner,
chopping, reaching, stirring, though you hardly ever see it happening.
The neighbors move from right ear to left; you know
I have two hands in order to sacrifice the better of the two, and
this is good enough. There are plants to be watered, and hands
cutting brackets out of red peppers, small enough to hold
the moment between them. A blanket turning in the wash shakes the floor
with its weight. A car below shakes as it passes, again, over the curved stones, and all this,
because I have no choice.


Italicized lines from ‘The Princess (I)’ by Clarice Lispector
1‘The Escape’ by Clarice Lispector


Kelsie Renehan is a Masters candidate at Freie Universität Berlin, a current editor of the FU Review, the host and creator of the podcast FU Out Loud, and a University of Maryland alumn. She’s built houses, books, journals, and friendships across Maryland, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Berlin. You can find more of her work in the Free State Review, The Wild Word, The FU Review, and scattered across the internet. 

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