Thursday, November 10, 2016
Circe’s Cabin (from Totem Beasts)
The duke and I stumbled upon her cottage in the woods with the front door open. We went in, delighted by the cozy living quarters decorated with colorful textiles and marble statues, Buddha stones, shrines of goddesses, stained glass, and damask curtains. We settled on a duvet on the floor and the duke, with his multi-colored eyes and ebony hair, read from Sappho's lost book of poems. The poems were printed on papyrus and turned to dust in his hands, but with every new page we marveled at the secret words until the sun set and the lights began to flicker across the bay.
Afterward, we went out to the deck; half of it was falling into the water, its wood curved like a cascading wave. There were others now, figured on neighboring decks, gossiping, raising their glasses, seemingly content as the water lapped at the banks. Inside, more people had arrived and sat on the couch with drinks in their hands (they let themselves in). Dogs were chasing each other around the fireplace; lovers were eating muffins in the breakfast nook dropping crumbs on the floor. Then she arrived. She was not ageless; she was not beautiful. She was surprised to see us all there, taking advantage of her lair. I told her I would make it right; I told her I respected her. I commenced cleaning the place of its crumbs, dust, dog hair, and shattered glass. She was bewildered, senile, out of sorts—stunned. I frantically went about grabbing the dust, hair, and shards of glass in my hands, but it seemed futile; it was everywhere. What was she to do now? The lord and his mistress were renting the place for a getaway. I looked after the duke but he had disappeared. I told the others to get out. A man fell from the roof and broke his neck. Another was eating an orchid on the front porch.
When I found the duke, he was arm in arm with the crone and she leading him to her bedroom. After a few moments, he came out squealing and snorting and disappeared into the woods.
When they arrived I had the place spotless and vacant, save the crone who hummed softly as she braided her hair in her chamber. The man with the broken neck had been airlifted to the nearest hospital. The lights across the bay had gone out. I opened the door and they were young and dark; the lord wore an oversized baseball cap and a medallion, the mistress, sweatpants with LOVE printed across her ass. They ignored me, thinking I was the maid, and went from room to room, commenting on the place, happy to be alone at last.