With the Percussionist by Kirit Limperis

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With the Percussionist By Kirit Limperis ‘19 After a recital by percussionist Colin Currie

[we are sitting on the stage with the percussionist. it is valentine’s day. the audience is very red. an older man settles in the seat beside me: red wool socks, a red sweater, a wool cap like my grandfather’s. his wife with the gray eyes looks at him and goes: you’re going to be enchanted her husband replies: am i now he takes off his cap.] i. open your eyes, YOU ARE ON A TRAIN AND THE TRACKS ARE MADE OF TURTLE SHELLS open your eyes, YOU ARE IN A JUNGLE AND IT’S RAINING YOUR DEMONS close your eyes. [the two boys in front of me, still zipped up in their down jackets, have ceased poking each other in the ribs.] ii. now, it’s raining left thumbs it’s raining salamander tails perhaps in this theater, if you hold out your hands they’ll melt onto your fingers, a thousand mirrors it’s raining all of the things you’ve forgotten to say and now, you are remembering them. [the man in the red sweater chews his gum slower now. it smells like cinnamon. he clutches the edge of the metal chair.] iii. they are in a bar it’s 1942 and she smokes like a labyrinth, she draws out her breaths like a slick freight train

he’d like to tell her but it feels forbidden so he watches her eyes gray birds through the gritty haze. iv. open your eyes, THIS IS WHAT A BIRTHING WOMAN’S HEART SOUNDS LIKE, STRONGER THAN ALL OF THE BRAVEST BIRDS close your eyes. v. marimbas have taken over the asylum i can’t hear over the sound of the salamander tails i catch them from my seat in these tiny mirrors, i see that i am under the sea with the boy I once knew he is holding our breath and the bubbles rise i am trying to pull his lungs out of his chest i will show them to him, in fistfuls except this is what the heart of a drowned man sounds like. vi. open your eyes, this is what the woman’s heart sounds like now muffled by two tiny hands drawn out of her own womb together their breaths, silver droplets landing on a damp sheet. vii. it smells like it has almost stopped raining. there are two small boys holding hands and they ask, what can we do, to be enchanting? [the mother of the down-jacket boys sits up as if suddenly remembering something her own mother told her so many years ago]

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