The morning after
I turn on the shower as hot as I can stand it and step into the stream. The scolding water, almost too much to bear, blasts down upon me until I feel as though my skin is sloughing from my body. I’m afraid to look down lest I see my exterior self laying crumpled and empty around my bloodied and blistered feet.
Instead, I keep my eyes squeezed tight and let the water continue its work, hoping against hope that it will uncover a better me below. Certainly something is revealed. Stepping from the shower, I catch sight of my reflection in the half-fogged mirror above the basin and am captured by it.
As I stare unblinking into the glass, a terrible angel gazes back at me. He must be an angel; nothing remotely human could be that raw. His alien intensity fascinates me; shaved head, hollow cheeks, eyes huge and full of all the desolation in the world. His pale, naked body is jagged and bone-thin, a portrait of Belsen, of Buchenwald, painted by Braque.
This is what an angel is, a creature scoured clean of all guile and artifice by the ocean forces of pure incomprehensible loss. It’s a creature that can hold all the pain that ever was in one fragile little shell because that shell holds nothing else. He is quite, quite beautiful. I stare at him for hours.
Words and image are my own.