Aug 172011

Little Michele has the face of a lion. A pure golden mane falls back from a square-featured face, hair straight as uncooked spaghetti. Her eyes are two chips of sky, Caribbean pools prone to storms, the intense bezel of an x-ray machine, exposing bones and breaks and the progress of mends deep within the delicate ghosts of muscle. Her nose seems small, almost hidden in plain sight, an odiferous tan mushroom tucked beside looming redwoods, shaded and guarded. Reddened by allergies, sneezes, or tears, it transforms into a ladybug button, an up elevator light making a quick retreat to the roof, the roof a broad perfect dome smuggled out of Constantinople intact, supporting the thousand lines of sunshine arrayed around the dome in a glory. When little Michele hugs me hello at the airport in SF Int’l’s muraled halls, her chin registers against my bent-down neck determined as a hockey stick. She knows now for sure in her lion way that someone else is climbing down into the swamped yellow raft of her life, a second set of feet to look at in the raft’s well as the rains whip the sea, the tide bruising, and ancient fins–a few at first, then more and more in the bloodied waters–glint dully in the whirlpool’s tightening fist.

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