July 2004 / Volume Five / Issue Three / Online
K.C. Ruttan
She drew a straight red line.

Thin at first.
Remarkable
and beautiful.
All ruby and burning.
All dizzy.
It was a release.
It was a way out.
It was,
just a straight red line.

She thought of things.
She felt mucusy.
Could smell
her own snot.
It was sweet.
It was a  humid nighttime rainstorm
in summer.
It was obese raindrops
pummeling
fresh mud.
Her own private sinkhole.
She submit to
the ground giving way
beneath her bare calloused feet.

She thought of enjoying the idea
of standing barefoot
in the mud
in the rain
on a moonless night.
The cool earth accepting her.
Accommodating perfectly
the arches of her soles.
Brown splashes
on her ankles
and calves.
Her clothing saturated.

Heavy against her
goose-bumped skin.
And the ground opening
and her feeling safe within it.

She thought of the times
being warm in the shower.
Curled up
and fetal.
Sometimes crying.
Sometimes not.
Sometimes thinking.
Ideas running.
Circling
on an elliptical track
in her mind.
Ideas that were old,
tired and thirsty
going round and round
an eighth mile at a time
she counted them
round and round
and round
mile after mile
never resting
never stopping
never slowing down.
And sometimes,
she thought of nothing.

But there was always weight.
A pressure.
Some uneasy sickness.
Some kind of anxiety
over having missed or
forgotten something important.
There was always a new life waiting.
A child never to be birthed.
An ill fated
parched
desert dry conception.
Stillborn from the moment
sperm met egg.

But none of that mattered anymore.
Her mind cleared and the pressure lifted.
There was only cool pink ice-water
and that red line.
And from that line
she drew garnet colored ribbons.
Floating
flowing from her in uneven patterns.
Growing
long and thick.
Blanketing out
shades of crimson.
Like the Aurora Borealis on fire.

And all was still
and quiet.
The world muted.
The rain smacked
soundlessly
into the mud.
The drumbeat
slowed
and slowed
and slowed
and stopped.
and all was still and quiet.

It was only
a straight red line.