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(Our Real Limbs), by Harold Abramowitz



Then we were waiting for that last second, I thought. It was a good day. There were good things, and there were very good people, I thought. I loved it a little less than I should have, perhaps, though. Like the most innocent moment of all. I was stupid tired, though. Putting my feet up. Painful as all of that, I thought. I took a second to try and figure it all out. I was at my seat at my desk. Someone was calling. You could have knocked me over. Taken me on vacation. I was your friend. Then I thought for a moment. Stolen moments. Stolen moments.

For another moment. I might have said another word, I thought. The sitting was exhausting, though, I thought. Perfect. You were pretty perfect, too, I thought. How fast do we have to run to be here first? I asked. It was something I wanted to consume. I first wanted to consume this thing, and then I wanted to consume that thing as fast as I possibly could. I had to lay my hands in the back of the drawer. Back to where I came from, I thought. I knew how to make a minute out of a second. I knew how to tell time. But back in the drawer. Alive. Along the way. It was supposed to be this way, I thought. But the heat, all the weather, for that matter, had a way of breaking me down. It was time for lunch. I must say I was treated very poorly. There was no time. I could first hear this thing coming from your mouth, and then hear that thing coming from your mouth. I wanted to put my shoes away. I wanted to relax and get comfortable. But then there was a discussion. Certain things had to be said, and neither one of use was going to argue. Not then, and not in that place. How do you do your job? I asked. How can you do these things without getting nervous? I asked. I was afraid. I could turn and look at the conditions of the world. How things were situated. And instead of first worrying about this thing, and then worrying about that thing. How I stood. What I wanted. I had to tell you there was nothing in the world I could have done better. Not in the world. I was not in the world, I said. I said so. I put my house in order. What else could I do? I asked.



The significance of that stupid way I was looking at things, I thought. At the world, even, I said. Interrupt me, you might say. And then half dead. There was something on the floor, on the room in the floor, on the floor of the room. It was a sunny day. Something really special that had to be said. Involving people. Like a committee. Like committed people, I thought. The love between us. It was what we said. I live in a house by the beach, I thought. What a place. Where we used to live. And how fast the days went by. It was like the beating of a drum in my head. Words. That much was true, too. A beautiful fantasy, and then I would say something different. Putting people first, of course. That way we would look at each other on the avenue. That way we looked at each other on the avenue. Then whole days would pass that way. Sudden. Suspension. The time it takes to vacate the premises, I thought. I would gather we had better places to go. But what a generous person. What a generous dream. What a thing to say, I thought. It was like the color of a lullaby, or of waiting for me by the corner. I said there was an underpinning to all of it. Hard not to hold on that way when the business was thriving, I said. When there was a lot of color in the room. It was a beautiful establishment. Hanging flat out of the trees. Like the lurching of the trees, and of the branches. Color over, or color us under, or hate the world for all of the things we’ve done, I said. Beautiful people that say such beautiful things, I said. And no one was wondering what I was going to do. But then after a little while. Setting up a sustained principle. It was sitting in the room. There was a curtain there, too. A kind of curtain, if you squinted, or if you looked at something in just the right way. I could hear you calling me by my name. It was hot. There was a lot to look up to. Decide. I said so. And then I laughed.

There were violets then, too. Abraham Lincoln statues. Coldhearted. Everything was so coldhearted, I said. I should have told you I was. Shamed. I am ashamed, I said. And then we were jealous, and then there was something calling. Clamoring for care. Please, you said. Different to want to have that kind of picture-perfect fare, I thought. A whole lot of pictures. And violent disorders. Some of us were saying that first we were this way, and then we were that way, and depressed too. What if you had to run out the door really fast? I asked. I put my picture up in the hallway. There was a lot to worry about, at that point. Such perfection that was walking. I might have put it differently, though, at that point. But aliens are sponges for our thoughts, I said. A homerun. It’s like lilacs all over again, I said. But you already did that, you said. Like an utterly weird person. We laughed. It is going to be perfect when we get there, I thought. And just before the sky turned color. There is a reason we are here, I said. And you are my perfect person, I thought. I put you first. You. Perfect you. I could tell you I was not as prepared as I thought I was going to be. Not as ready as I could have been, I thought. It was, however, another kind of perfection. Labor. The rest of the story was extremely heartbreaking to hear, though, I thought. Difficult because of every ear, and because of every detail that stitched us into a kind of arm, I thought. You were perfect. Also, also, such a perfect presence. When I said this was the day. Whole fires that could calm me. But speaking such a lot of long care, I thought. Corners, and curtains. I put you first. It’s what I said it would be when there was an overgrowth of feeling. Watching the trees fail. Even by the garden. Even by the knees of the garden, I said. You didn’t have to do anything very different at that point. I just about stopped in my tracks. That day. And then when you went by. Each one of us first bought this thing at the store, and then bought that thing at the store. Each one of us buying a day. A heady experience. The ruins were already there, of course, I thought. And then such a system. What I wanted to live for. It was the type of thing that just about broke everything it touched. Hurt both of us very deeply, I thought. Perfect. A perfect spot, a perfect moment for a change of style, for sure, I thought. For an infinity of change, I thought.

It was just that way when I said it was going to be a beautiful day. Whole days just like that. And colorful days, too. Bottles. Good days, too. I loved being in the house. I loved being in that place. There was a direct telling of the way we wanted to figure out how fast our house was going to go down, too.



Incredible circumstances. Going over and over. The end of this. As well. I was a limb. I laughed, too. Because we were in very good circumstances, I thought. I wanted to run away. I wanted to become someone new. And there was fading. And all was exciting. And I wanted to run. It was there that my heart stretched out. That I could feel your very specific thinking. Feeling. I was feeling things that day. And then in the trees when the sun was out. When there was something I needed from the world. It told me things. Like there was a dream of things I was being told. Incredible things. And places. And a kind of kid, or a king. Or whatever you were going to say in the first place. I could first discuss this thing for hours, and then I could discuss that thing for hours, but we didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t want to raise my hands any higher. Not over my face. Not anywhere. What a wild world. We bury our mothers. We are at war. It is a brand new day.

That way I said that the world was all going up in a little blanket of smoke. That there was some honey on my hands, or on my eyelids. You told me all the ways you missed me. I was first this thing, and then I was that thing. I was that on top of the world thing, but there were tensions there, I thought. And then one day. It was like that. A hopeless situation. Very comfortable at the beginning. At the end. How lucky we were to find ourselves. There was a light in the house. Were you feeling bad? I asked. Were there things you wanted to say to me? I asked. And all the lights went down very quickly. What you were wearing. What you looked like. When you are all grown up, I said. And it was all feeling, and there were things that could not be harmed, or kept up, or taken for granted, I said. Under a veil. I used to love to rend myself under the veil, I said. That was a missed opportunity, you said. The time is different, I said. And things had changed. And then there was something to frown on, too, I thought.

So this was something, I said. Telling me to shut up. Telling me I was free. I was free, too. To go. In a familiar place. There was a real way in through the door, too. I was scared. I thought it was high time to get home. Thank you, I said. In plain words, there was a whole thing. A whole world. An age before I started to want to come to your rescue. Then you said. Things had to change, I said. You held your hands in the air. It was a perfect color, or arrangement of colors. It depended on the place, I thought. It depended on the sound of the wind in the air. The ocean. The whole world, too.



This looks like it is going to be a home in the park, I said. I am sad, I said. It was going to be something that called a lot of things into question, I said. I am all raw and all used up, I said. Somewhere, something hurt me. I turned to myself all the time. It is time to slow down, I said. It was going to be a brilliant night. The whole ocean would occur. The oceans would fail. I kept telling myself to stop looking around. I couldn’t find out about how fast I had to go down. I wanted something to try with. I could see the fences around the yard, and the cotton, and the wood, and the gentle color of the land, I said. This smokes, I said. The whole world is smoking now, I said. I put my hands together and told a lie. I told a story to the times. I wanted to say I lived in rotten times. That the times I lived in were guaranteed to be rotten. I could see it in my mind, on my house, in my car. I lived the way I wanted to live. But then you said to me. You said that you were the steward of the whole world, and that I was gentle. And then besides that. A smoking gun. Someone was putting up the smoke. Selling the smoke. Putting the smoke up for sale. It was gentle and beautiful, and it had no reason for being. I heard there was a lot to say about a lot of things. I could look and see you in the mirror. My mind was a mirror. It was what it was, what I wanted it to be. I could see you over and over again. And how the times would change. I would trace myself back to the land, back to the right ways to live. I would trace myself to however fast I had to move. I would watch you turn your head. I would wonder where you were going with what you were saying. I would follow your gaze to see what you would see. But then things were changing. We were holding ourselves up. All taken for granted. Such a disappointment when you don’t feel well, I said. I could grind my teeth. I could burrow my tongue into my teeth. I could view the whole world from where I was sitting on the couch. And at that point, anyone would have been scared.



  • Harold Abramowitz is the author of Blind Spot, Not Blessed, Three Column Table, and Dear Dearly Departed; and co-author of Man's Wars & Wickedness and UNFO Burns a Million Dollars. Harold writes and edits as part of the collaborative projects eohippus labs, SAM OR SAMANTHA YAMS, and UNFO.

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