Itchiku Kubota’s Kimono He asks to walk to the museum. We are adrift in multicolored thread and silk. Kubota once said his art went against his nature. Why don’t we do that? Go against what feels natural? (But I already know why: it doesn’t feel good.) Patterns in the silk are deliberate. Repetition, part of the art, the language of fabric. Patterns in my life: addicted to addicts. I collect sleeves of them. When I was young, my American literature professor wrote THANATOS DRIVE on the chalkboard in very large print and then pointed at us half-joking, half-accusing: Which one of you is drawn to death? Which one of you makes decisions that draw you closer to death every day? I was 20 and a virgin, not connecting to this lecture in my mall-purchased jean jacket. But maybe even then death was there drawing me towards it like a smell trail in a cartoon wafting under my nose, lifting me out of my seat, invisibly floating me towards its source. Ahhh, death, let me drink from your pockets. Sometimes I think I am only attracted to people that are close to death. Even nonaddicts I’ve loved: one with brain cancer, one with myocarditis, one hypothermic by the railroad tracks. Sometimes I think it is me who brings them closer to death; I’m a portal. The kimono has many knots and folds. We observe them together. He is next to me but he is hiding. There are things he isn’t telling me. I know because I Googled him. Forging signatures, stealing pills, larceny, crashing his car. They perp-walked him. Maybe we’d be better if we went against our nature. Maybe we would overcome our nature. When he’s making fun of me he lifts his nose in the air like a dog searching for a smell story. When we’re walking, he bumps into me. I don’t know if this means he wants to be closer? He is inviting even with secrets. 74 | PHOEBE 49.1
Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and art selected for phoebe's 49.1 issue.