Iowa Writes

RAQUEL LISETTE BAKER
When He Gets Weary: A Revision, part two


Stay with me pilot! A crack above his right ear and then the sky dropped out from under him. He remembered the long letters he wrote to her. Things he couldn't say to her in Iowa. Baby, we gotta leave Molville. Let's move to Las Vegas. Let's get married in the Mojave Desert. Just you me and God. I can't wait to hold you and sleep next to you in the middle of the desert. The tail rotor spun uncontrollably. Detached from its steel axis. Code blue! Code blue! The chaplain's fingertips against his forehead. His voice barely audible over the sound of machines. Blessed be the name of our Lord. Anthony's eyes opened. The chaplain's eyes were emerald blue. His hair brown. He smelled of dusk. Of magnolia. And traveler's joy. And unwashed beard. He was smiling. He seemed far away. Imaginary. As if Anthony were watching a movie with no sound.

* * *

Anthony whispers. Is somebody out there? He is alive. He hears. A knocking. There is no answer. Michelle holds him in her arms. Squeezes. When did you get back? His duffle bag at his feet. He follows her to her bedroom. His smile. A curvature. On the surface of his face. The scanner records his brain. On photographic film. Projects primal black and white images to screen. Just like a movie.

* * *

Stay with me pilot! A crack above his right ear and then the sky dropped out from under him. He remembered the long letters he wrote to her. Things he couldn't say to her in Iowa. Baby, we gotta leave Molville. Let's move to Las Vegas. Let's get married in the Mojave Desert. Just you me and God. I can't wait to hold you and sleep next to you in the middle of the desert. The tail rotor spun uncontrollably. Detached from its steel axis. Code blue! Code blue! The chaplain's fingertips against his forehead. His voice barely audible over the sound of machines. Blessed be the name of our Lord. Anthony's eyes opened. The chaplain's eyes were emerald blue. His hair brown. He smelled of dusk. Of magnolia. And traveler's joy. And unwashed beard. He was smiling. He seemed far away. Imaginary. As if Anthony were watching a movie with no sound.

* * *

Anthony whispers. Is somebody out there? He is alive. He hears. A knocking. There is no answer. Michelle holds him in her arms. Squeezes. When did you get back? His duffle bag at his feet. He follows her to her bedroom. His smile. A curvature. On the surface of his face. The scanner records his brain. On photographic film. Projects primal black and white images to screen. Just like a movie.

* * *

He remembered her picture in his right pocket. He was in by straps. He patted the outside of his pocket. Remembered the numbers in her mailing address. 110. 51039. Other memories came, pushing against the inside of his brain. He bit. Her tongue. Her nipples. Everywhere. She pulled him on top of her. On her couch. Her face. A smile. Her face. Her tits. Her lips. Her thighs. He bit down hard. On that moment. It was med-evaced, cradled in a bucket of ice, rushed to the hospital, and sown back on to the next one. He grunted. Groaned. Gurgled. Blood escaped from his lungs. He bit harder. He wanted. To gain. Control.

* * *

Inside the scanner, Anthony is held in by straps. Propped against pillows. He moves through the center of a circular machine. Is scanned. In his mind he replays his third date with Michelle. Silently. At the back door, her nipples etch a sharp line in her t-shirt. She is smiling. Would she answer the door for him when he got back home? Did she even exist when he wasn't there? I hope I'm not disturbing you. His voice fills the darkness of her kitchen. As he crosses the room, he steps in a plate of wet cat food. Hops on one foot past her. Balances against the kitchen doorway. She pulls a rag from the oven's chrome handle. Bends over. Wipes off his shoe.

* * *

Anthony moves his head in a backward motion. As if he is trying to do or say something. Waits for another moment to strike. Lies on a bed at Andrews Air Force Base. In Maryland his right eye moves. So slightly. He lives in a moment. In Iowa. He follows Michelle to her bed. She leans into him. He strokes her back. She is laughing. He kisses her fingertips. The skin on her neck. Her back. His right eye seems to be tracking something. So slightly.

* * *

The Black Hawk stopped on its right side. An explosion of ground absorbed it. Anthony's stomach muscles. The muscles inside. Tight. A medic pulled him up and away. The motherfuckers got him! He yelled over his right shoulder. They settled into a cup-shaped hole behind the tail boom. The ground came to life. Smashed. And spilled Anthony. Toppled him over. The medic cut open his shirt. Wiped him up. Folded him tight. His stomach muscles and the muscles inside pulled tight. The world flashed at three different speeds. Himself. The ground. The sky. Someone turned the speed lever. To the left. To the right.

* * *

Anthony's heart beats. Quickly. Slower. Slow. His eyes do not react to light. In his mind Michelle's face is smiling. He pulls her closer to the bed with his breathing. So quiet. She is laughing. She straddles him. Her stomach muscles. And the muscles inside. Pull tight. He grabs for the scruff of her neck. Pulls himself into her. Kisses her. And another. They fall back. Onto the bed. Wanting. More.

* * *

Anthony enforced the law. Justice blindfolded. Her face smiling. Anthony was shot down. He was a body of glass. A body of glass. He wanted. More. Life. Not like wanting was in the movies. One dimensional. Rehearsed. How can anyone express this wanting. Anthony's wanting. In a movie?

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

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RAQUEL LISETTE BAKER

Raquel Lisette Baker is working on a PhD in English Literary Studies, specializing in Postcolonial Studies and African literatures in English.  She received a BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University and a MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College.  She has published in The Womanist and Crux.

Stay Tuned! Conclusion to follow.  If you missed yesterday's page, here is When He Gets Weary: A Revision, part one.

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