What’s this scar, I ask, a finger touching his body somewhere the skin is pale and slightly warped, maybe damp, warm from a shower. A crowbar, he says, or a computer case. Something fell, a knife slipped, there is a different explanation for every twisted mark. The disfiguring slice that runs up his thumb, the white curl that runs around the top of his right foot. I am collecting each story, building a narrative, assembling a picture of his body through history. Actions, reactions. Attacked, sleeping somewhere he shouldn’t. Carving a fall through the air, a parachute failure from fourty stories up.
“What would you do if I cut my hair?” “Could I have it?” “That’s not at all what I asked.”
He looks through me like a strange mirror, the reflection off by a fraction. In the deepest center of things, the beginning of a spark. We map territory almost the same, drawing conclusions at an almost cellular level, uncanny and intimately familiar, a dance I’ve never had a partner for, though I long ago conquered the steps. Even as I dig for bones, there is a return archeology, a chemical reaction that burns through skin down to the raw, bloody, hard and honest, that knack of knowing without necessarily knowing why, the same way that when we’re asleep, we unconsciously hold hands in the dark.