Lorette C. Luzajic
The White Room
Wordsworth in winter. The psalmody in sunlight. Dylan, not yet gone, Dylan, not yet born. She is turning pages. She is caught on the white slant of summer’s last light, biding rhyme. On another continent, the blues are being born.
I was telling you how I’d never felt anything about birds for so long. I could not be moved by a sweet chirp or a confident arc of wing. When my father pointed out a swooping hawk, his voice broken by wonder, I would duck back inside a book after a brief glance upwards. I was almost indifferent to the parade of colourful costumes, to feathered masks and tendril plumes, to the tender toes branching three ways over a small berry. My nonchalance shifted on the occasion I found a felled fowl, and a small kitten licking its lips and batting a paw across the bird’s tiny fluttering throat. Her heart was a small seed pounding under a tear like a seam down her breast. I was an unwilling witness at the moment that it stopped, and something small but deep changed in me forever. You didn’t say much then, you never did, but I could always read what you were thinking. You wanted to share something from the gospel, a snippet of poetry about divine handiwork or the eye on the sparrow, and maybe a word or two about the gulf between glory and pain in nature. I kicked off my little heels and stretched out across your divan with your striped cat and a tumbler of Rioja. You drowned your own small splash in Evian and said you had to get up early. Moved my blue suede shoes to the Wayfair tree in the lobby. Well, if I sometimes wondered what you saw in me at all, it was only the flickering of old fears, small winged demons that sparked through my life like glow fly hummingbirds. I stayed up late watching them glitter across the night at your window. When the sun came up, you were already up waiting for it. Your fingers were covered in paint and your rosary was in a heap on the table. You nodded at me, then, at the coffee machine. It was that space between here and morning, the only place I’d ever been able to find you.
On our last day in Barcelona, we watched the rain from the palace museum of art, over Catalonia. If I’d dreamed of dashing in and out of cathedrals to make love for days, now I was so tired I wasn’t sure I’d make it to Madrid. Our bed was two small boards and a bit of foam pushed together, but our aching knees were grateful even so. Falling into you, yielding to you, for the thousandth time, after so many mosaics and so much serrano ham, was a kind of baptism, or medicine. It never escaped me how lucky I was. Your company was easy and I was heavy, but you carried me like air. You braced my elbow, held my neck in the bend of your arm, packed up all my what-ifs in a suitcase with wheels. When I was drowning in all the graves and poems, you tied a crimson ribbon to my pinkie. Spain! you said, before we got there, when I was still afraid, waving the word like a fuchsia frock in front of a bull, then wiping my tears with the stars spilling over the hillside, gathering me in that crook like a shepherd.
Lorette C. Luzajic is from Toronto, Canada. Her prose poetry and small fictions are widely published, with recent or forthcoming appearances in Voice and Verse (Hong Kong), Gyroscope, Free Flash Fiction, Bright Flash Review, Club Plum, New Flash Fiction, Wild Word (Berlin), and Indelible (Dubai). Her Pushcart-nominated flash story “The Paper Dark” was part of the award-winning anthology, The Group of Seven Reimagined (ed. Karen Schauber, Heritage Books.) A recent flash story won first place in a contest at MacQueen’s Quinterly. Her most recent of five poetry collections is Pretty Time Machine: ekphrastic prose poems. Some of her works have been translated into Urdu. She is founder and editor of The Ekphrastic Review, a journal devoted to literature inspired by art. She is also an award-winning visual artist, with collectors in 25 countries from Estonia to Qatar. Visit her at www.mixedupmedia.ca.