Is it better to put the letter in the mailbox or in the garbage? The letter is addressed to a person who has both righted and wronged her, many times over and in an order with no math to it. She stands on the northeast corner of Franklin and Dean. Men and their stupid names. A cold wind like a wimpy chokehold. At the southeast corner, a city-issued trashcan, green mesh and rat filled. On the northwest corner, a federal mailbox, creak-jawed, blue as her shoes. To make matters worse she is dressed as a mime: midnight spandex bodytard; opalescent gloves; blue leather jazz flats and a blue knit cap. Her hair tucked into the cap is still, complicatedly, red. To be a redhead is to be, from birth, a divisive woman.
In order to think, she goes into a bar. It’s early; it’s eleven in the morning and the bar is not a gentrified one. She orders a tequila soda, poor woman’s margarita. It’s December. The phrase “white as a sheet” applies to the air outside, but in here the air is warm, carpeted, the color of wine. There are silver-tinseled windows and inflatable palm trees and a bad sound system. “A mime walks into a bar,” the bartender says, and leaves it there, unfinished. “Then what?” the mime asks. The bartender shrugs, looks embarrassed, walks away. He seemed to think the mime would finish the joke, or at least remain silent.
*Image: St. Christopher (the skins), painting, Chris Lux, 2010