Pamplemousse

The Student Literary Journal of Vermont State University

I watched a movie recently about a man, a machinist, who

accidentally runs-over and kills a woman and her young girl.

Unable to cope with what he’s done, the man splits off from himself,

and then begins to see another, very threatening man everywhere:

at work, on the road after work, at the café near the airport, he

sits there every night, all night, and always orders bacon and eggs,

and he longs for the same waitress. And at home he sees first

just a little blood trickling down from the corners of his freezer door,

then puddles of blood on the kitchen floor, and then little threats:

I’m watching you, and, I know what you’ve done,

on little yellow post-it notes there and here —

on the bedside table, the fridge, the bathroom mirror.

As the movie progresses, the man becomes increasingly skeletal,

as the threatening man costs him his job, his apartment,

his woman. And he doesn’t sleep. And he develops a limp

and a couple of broken ribs, and scrapes and scars, and bruises

around his neck because eventually he attempts to fight-off

the threatening man, attempts to free himself from this torment.

The movie comes to a crescendo when the man realizes he is both

himself and the threat to himself, and he turns himself in, unhinged,

to the police, for the murders he’s committed.

 

After the movie I sat on the couch and sipped wine by myself

musing, my boyfriend is in the same line of work as that man. He,

too, finds little messages on post-it notes there and here:

a string of numbers he claims is the alarm code, a list

of non-perishable food items. My boyfriend lives near the airport

and fiends for coffee, and he, too, longs for the same

waitress (me) day after day. I’ve seen him devour bacon and eggs.

And I rarely sleep well when we’re together because he gets out

of bed so often during the night to take pills for his aches and pains.

Sometimes I get out of bed, too, and limp along to the medicine cabinet

with him. Sometimes we smell as if we’ve been fighting, but

it’s merely the stench of hard work, sweat, and metal.

Like mine, my boyfriend’s eyes are very dark, each like a black tunnel,

like the black tunnel the man in the movie

drives through after he kills the woman and her young girl.

Yes, it’s when he approaches the mouth of that tunnel

that he splits. Sometimes I witness my boyfriend sleeping fitfully.

One night, he twitches so hard that he shakes me awake,

and his eyes spring open, so I think he’s awake, too.

He’s lying on his back, staring at the ceiling, pensive, and the tension

I feel radiating from his body tells me he’s hiding something,

so I lean over him propped up on one elbow, and we are face to face,

and I look him dead in the eye — no — it’s not his eye. It’s not his eye!

 

Rebecca Lund toured and lived in various parts of the United States and Europe as a musical theater performer berfore earning her undergraduate degree from Hunter College in New York City and an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. Currently, she works as a waitress, a freelance copy editor, and an English and Writing tutor in Seattle. Lund’s poetry is forthcoming in Green Mountains Review and she is the recipient of a 2014 GAP award from Artist Trust.