Meghan Lamb

To hold, To hollow

The sensation of sleep. The sensation of unknown sensation that hums in your hollows. The sensation of waking, forgetting, remembering, fading, and failing, dissembling. The sensation of waking up early, head hard, eyes like cold bullets under your lids. The sensation of squinting, thin needles of light, as your hand guides your mind through the room. The sensation of rising and yawning and swallowing sour taste, spitting it out. The sensation of sitting in front of your mother’s lap, letting her brush all the snarls from your hair. The sensation of tugging, of ripping, of hissing, hold still, in your ear. The sensation of wriggling, whining, of gritting your teeth, as you try to count backward from ten. The sensation of standing up with her beside you, and looking inside of the mirror, as she tousles and twists up your hair, clipping, hold still. The sensation that you are bad. The sensation of sewing, of training your eyes through the needle, through one, thin, minuscule slit, pinching tight to the edge of your thread, licking lightly, the tip. The sensation of pulling it through. The sensation of watching your grandmother sewing, hands feeding the fabric along the machine with its jagged tooth, gnawing its pathway of perfectly hashed lines. The sensation of running out into the snow. The sensation of ruining shoes. The sensation of tracking in mud, in the dark, unaware, switching on the light, feeling the fear in your throat. The sensation of spilling root beer on your pristine new white Easter sweater. The sensation of dropping a plate and the instant of hoping before the plate shatters. The sensation of picking up fragments, of piercing your skin, the air rushing inside of the opening, filling you with a sharp chill. The sensation that you are bad. The sensation of petting the cat. The sensation of getting a scratch. The sensation of swimming in cold water, toweling off, drying off, diving back in. The sensation of riding around in the back seat and listening to your CDs, watching mountains unfurl, hills wane, cities sprawl, and tall trees shed their leaves. The sensation of looking out windows, of looking at pictures in albums, of looking at sculptures of Jesus, of looking at magazines, looking at art. The sensation of looking at girls. The sensation of noticing something you like, or would like to have, like to have been, or be, someday, you hope to become. The sensation of touching your tongue to a sore in your mouth, licking secretive wounds. The sensation of something all wrong in your underwear, cotton that catches inside of your crotch. The sensation of cutting your hair. The sensation of dying your hair blue, then black. The sensation of switching to new underwear, smoother fabric that lets you forget what it hides. The sensation of stepping up onto the scale, the fluttering sound as it settles in place. The sensation of pinching your waist in an effort to see how much of yourself you can still hold. The sensation of tossing some twigs of spaghetti into a hot pot, and then watching them boil. The sensation of watching the dish in the microwave, turning and turning. The sensation of peeling an orange. The sensation of pouring some flakes. The sensation of waiting for coffee, then sipping the first hot sip, tenderly, carefully. The sensation of scratching an itch. The sensation of thick, itchy sweaters. The sensation of twirling, of pinning up your hair, the twisting of your wrist. The sensation of opening up the front door. The sensation of stepping out onto the ice. The sensation of stepping out into the sun. The sensation of stepping out into the rain. The sensation of racing to catch the bus, catching your breath in its smog. The sensation of catching a woman’s reflection inside of the window, inside of your own. The sensation of quickening pulse. The sensation of jittering floors. The sensation of cold. The sensation of watching her face as she looks at you, knowing that you have been looking too long. The sensation of seeing her shift to avoid you. The sensation that you are bad. The sensation of picking your chapped lips and biting inside of your cheek. The sensation of pressing your face to the window and watching the street fogging by. The sensation of clasping your hands around warm coffee, cooler now, safer to sip. The sensation of walking up long flights of stairs. The sensation of sitting beneath a bright light. The sensation of humming vibrations sent down from the light, and absorbed by your skin. The sensation of stretching, and pacing, and trips to the semi public bathroom. The sensation of scanning the bottoms of stalls to see if there are feet underneath them. The sensation of waiting, foot tapping, and catching a thin whiff of piss. The sensation of ducking in, squatting, and training your ears as you piss, shit, covertly. The sensation of pulling your underwear back up, still loose, still the same, smooth synthetic. The sensation of pumping a foamy white soap mound and rinsing it off. The sensation of sitting down back at your desk. The sensation of coffee, gone cold. The sensation of typing, and pausing, and typing, and straining, and pausing to stretch out your hands, and you do so by clasping, unclasping your fist, and you do so by clenching, unclenching your fingers, and opening them, and then closing them, stretching them out toward the light. The sensation of hoping for something to hold. The sensation of holding a drink. The sensation of drinking a bourbon Manhattan and sucking the cherry. The sensation of stirring your cocktail sword. The sensation of picking your teeth with it. The sensation of tingling sharpness that digs in the grooves of your gums. The sensation of digging around in your purse for the compact mirror, fixing your lipstick. The sensation of checking your teeth, which somehow always seem to get covered in red. The sensation of waiting, and waiting. The sensation when she arrives, or he arrives. The sensation of looking him over, her over, brown hair, black hair, gray hair, and touching your own. The sensation of standing and sliding across from, beside her, or him. The sensation of speaking, adjusting your voice. The sensation of bass seeping, glass clinking, TV commercials, all muffled together, a too thick scarf of sounds around your words. The sensation of swallowing, gulping, of looking up, down, and around, to hear what they are saying. The sensation of a hand placed on your hand, the permission to leave. The sensation of walking up long flights of stairs. The sensation of walking into a dark room, where the light flicks behind you, illuminating a strange space. The sensation of having another drink, which you know that you won’t finish, then leaning in, letting them lean in, or kneel, or kneeling to kiss them, or letting them kiss you. The sensation of smell. The sensation of taste. The sensation of most of it, strong, dark, and sour, or mint flavored, recently mint flavored, starting to fade. The sensation of a couch, a bed, a hard, soft, wall, so many textures, sounds, arrangements of their unfamiliarity. The sensation of standing, of straddling, fingering, sucking, secreting, of touching things, taking things, making things do things, and thus, making things into things. The sensation of an arm, a leg, a knee, an elbow, wrapping, or unwrapping, bumping up against your arm, your leg, your knee. The sensation of a new smell, salivation mixed with bergamot, synthetic pine sprig into sweat, tea rose into genital juice. The sensation of a cunt, a cock, a tongue, a who knows what, a something wet, a kiss, a flip, a lick, a lip, a sniff, a shift, a slide, a cough, a creak, a web of wet hair in your face, a pimple, nipple, pink, or brown, amid a tuft, a mound, a round, a soft, flat mass, amid a body, short, or long, or smooth, or furred, or sharp, or stiff, or swimming up to you, then backward as you move your mouth, your hands, your face, your mouth, your hands, your face, your face, your face, a face you cannot see, you never see, you never do see what you want to when you think, feeling around, the moment when you make it come, the cunt, her cunt, the cock, his cock, the face, their face, your face, your face, your face, your face. The sensation that you are bad. The sensation of the underwear, picked up and put back on. The sensation of a brush torn through the snarls of your hair. The sensation of your quiet footsteps through the strange room, to the door. The sensation of opening, ducking your head in the wind. The sensation of huddling into your coat. The sensation of walking out into the dark. The sensation of an echoed engine, quivering the streets, the way small cities hollow themselves out late in the night. The sensation of an oil smell, a gravel smell. The sensation of walking by a vent from which a thick, grey steam is pouring. The sensation of climbing back up to your room, into your bed, and wrapping yourself deep inside the shadows of your sheets. The sensation of waking up, sick. The sensation of coughing and holding your chest. The sensation of smelling like sweat, mostly yours, some of theirs, mixed with bergamot. The sensation of lying, and coughing, and reaching your arm out, and pouring a cap full of syrup, a cup full of bourbon, and swallowing, switching them back and forth, and back and forth. The sensation of watching TV. The sensation of ordering lunch. The sensation of hot noodles, slimy green peppers, and bean curd. The sensation of cold and half-hardened white rice. The sensation of opening packets of sauce with your teeth. The sensation of drizzling them over everything. The sensation of swallowing, painfully, chewing each bite twenty times, in the way you were taught. The sensation of warm spit, full stomach, disgust. The sensation that you are bad. The sensation of chopping up garlic and ginger, then smelling the tips of your fingers, then thinking of other times when you have made this same motion, have done this same act, with quite different results. The sensation of tossing some vegetables into a pan full of oil, and frying them up. The sensation of eating too quickly and burning your mouth. The sensation of running your injured tongue over your teeth as you package the leftovers, shelve them inside of the fridge, and then stand for a minute, inside of the droning blue glow. The sensation of taking a bath, lying back in the water, and letting it flow through your hair, fill your ears and your nose and all your other openings. The sensation of shaving your legs. The sensation of nicking your skin with the blade. The sensation of raising your ankle, blood running, and dabbing it off with a rag. The sensation of tracing a clear circle into the mirror fog, feathering out your hair, wondering what you would look like with shorter bangs, longer hair, shorter hair, flipped to the side. The sensation of Googling girls with good hair. The sensation of Googling girls with short hair. The sensation of Googling girls with short lavender hair. The sensation of Googling girls with short lavender hair, puffy nipples, and small breasts, unfurling your skirt with one hand, scrolling search images with the other. The sensation of wishing your breasts looked like that. The sensation of touching them, feeling dissatisfied with the sensation of something so yours and so known. The sensation of searching for lavender lingerie, pale gray stockings with lavender seams. The sensation of buying a set of sheer panties in orchid and aubergine, on sale. The sensation of buying a gimlet, to try it, a dirty martini, a dry one, then back to the dirty one, briny as yes, you know what, because who are you kidding. The sensation of meeting a lawyer who says he likes secrets. The sensation of meeting a stripper who says she likes dogs. The sensation of meeting an art teacher with a blonde streak in her blunt cut black hair, who declares she is looking for someone to keep her company. The sensation of meeting a surgeon who carries a very large purse filled with boxes of dark purple nitrile gloves that she puts on whenever she smokes. The sensation of fucking inside of the book store, the library, bathroom, the back room, inside of the back of the booth, on the twenty fourth flour of the merchandise mart. The sensation of sex on the table, the counter, the window, the balcony, in an abandoned warehouse, on a brittle concrete slab outside a train yard. The sensation of making a list of things that you would like to do, doing them, ticking them off. The sensation of reading it, trying to read something into it, failing. The sensation of reading a book without reading it, paging through, thinking, I’m in here, somewhere. The sensation of touching yourself in your bed without touching much, thinking, I’m in here, somewhere. The sensation holding your skirt as the wind blows too strong. The sensation of holding the edge of your flimsy umbrella against a hard rain. The sensation of stepping around puddles, seepages, islands of muddy wet trash. The sensation of riding the bus, nodding off on the window, with bags at your feet. The sensation of ending up at the wrong stop. The sensation of wandering, squinting around. The sensation of seeing a house that looks just like your grandmother’s. The sensation of memory, pale teal tile, pile carpet, a big picture window, and shelves full of thick picture albums and magazines, statues of Jesus. The sensation of memory, hide and seek, ducking in showers, in closets, behind the dark doors of the wardrobe, beneath the mothball scented sweaters and coats. The sensation of memory, pastel smocks, hair curlers, tufts of white hair wisping out of them, smiling, tea stained teeth with gold plated caps on the side of a mouth, gleaming strangely. The sensation of cold feet, cold nipples, cold lit, distant windows, like teeth. The sensation of betrayal when an unknown man walks by, inside. The sensation of going inside. The sensation of closing the door, turning off all the lights. The sensation of licking an envelope, sealing it shut. The sensation of sermons, of funerals, dim lit wood paneling, weak coffee brewing. The sensation of weddings and showers and new dresses bought to wear to them. The sensation of curling your hair overnight, and unrolling the rollers, next morning, to find that the right side is perfect, the left, a complete utter mess. The sensation of taking a brush to the right side and making it wrong, so it matches the left, tearing hard, frizzing up all the edges, and tossing your head in a frenzy. The sensation of biting your nails. The sensation of punching the wall. The sensation of fingering, fisting, of slapping, and biting, and digging around in someone else’s shape. The sensation of coming, hard, feeling your muscles protracting and pushing themselves from your bones. The sensation of coming, soft, looking up into the globe lamp, cocooning its light. The sensation of snow falling, coating the world in its sheen. The sensation of melting, uncoating, revealing, of having learned nothing from years worth of seasons. The sensation of plays and recitals and concerts and trivia nights and bar hopping and team meetings, bowling and badminton, brunches and birthdays and date nights and calling in sick. The sensation of Fridays, and Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, and Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and Fridays, and more dates and drinks, and more sleeping, and eating, and meeting, and kissing, and fucking, and shaving, and cutting your hair short, and growing it out, and more chasing the bus, and more looking through windows, at windows, and watching them, waiting for something, some portal, some image, some message, to play there, forever, of riding the bus and imagining mountains unfurling, hills waning, in place of the parking lots, blocks with the same signs recurring, the same scenes repeated, of hunger, of fullness, of happiness, boredom, and waiting, and waiting, and anxiousness, which is just really a form of some sourceless, eternal impatience, of here and of gone, and of now, and of dull, and of fear, and of done, and of shame, and of farce, and of love, and of guilt, and of vague pain, vague hope, and vague longing, vague sadness, vague pleasure, vague loss. The sensation of loss. The sensation of loss.