Westwind

Unspeaking

an exerpt

ETHAN SCAPELLATI

I.

Si is a carpenter in 1882. Si is anything but a carpenter

when hard hands fasten his soft-felt bowler hat,

and now he is Winslow Homer. He is anyone but Winslow Homer

and so Winslow orders a drink to feel more like himself.

The Brooklyn Bridge is his workplace. His workplace is anything but the Bridge

because he is the most famous artist in the U.S. of A.

and his sweat stains – not of that cold skeletal thing! – perhaps the image

of a shecreature sitting staring staring, and

Yes, staring at Winslow. She is staring at anything but Winslow

so he orders a whiskey. (She continues careless stare;

maybe she is rather dumb?) And so

he orders another whiskey, and another, until

She absolutely stares at him, as far as staring goes.

His everystep is an ultrastruggle dysconsciously attracted to her despite

dawnsandmulberries being crushed by crowded goats

and megaunorganized pleasuredrives to tow the line

Between her and he; and he is close now, but – or maybe it was not

somewhere down the line where

shoulder to shoulder, tattooed butterflies never fought  –

the shecreature waited patiently, as if the line

Is an endlessly expanding universe in decline

of a Darwinian social contract written

from calloused fingers, like a disengaged psittacine

or something horny, like a polyester rose

(But he is Winslow Homer, and he longs to go to her, so he does) –

and so he orders another whiskey,

and one for her if she’ll recognize it,

and she laughs and proposes that he sit.

 

 

V.

He knows it is enough. He is Winslow Homer:

he is he as an end and not a means to a meaningless he

and in the end he can possess anything he desires.

And he waits for her to take him by the waist, to end the anxiety that

Continues to transmogrify and doubleandtripletransmogrify

at every bowelfull point. But instead she stares, her lessthanhalfull smile

tempting him to speak, so he does. At least, he tries

to but it’s then he knows that language has left,

Language has gone to feed on arable land. “I am Winslow Homer.”

“I know.”

“I am a great painter.”

“I know.”

“I have a lot of money.”

“I know.”

“I do not have a lot of money.”

“I know.”

Silence stills him, and he loves her. He really does.

But he absolutely cannot communicate it. And all she does is know.

“All is lovely outside my house and inside my house and myself.”

“I know.”

She doesn’t really know, and Winslow almost knows

she doesn’t really know. “I am Si. I am a carpenter.”

“I know.”

She gets up, and Winslow finishes her drink and gets up too

But not before dreaming that he was a carpenter

sweating atop the Brooklyn Bridge, spilling off,

forever slighted like an unspeaking specter

to silentscream be side those fleshfill goats.

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