And this how I learned.  Learned of circles and squares.  Their geometric connection.  Between the earth and the divine.  That gruesome ecstasy of the sensual world, embodying the wide spectrum of the human experience, that union of polar opposites—between the Nature that art tries to capture, and the logical science revealing the stable patterns of God.  The archetypal union of the feminine mind with the masculine, and that old, familiar smile on a man’s face contained in the urge to return to the primordial mother.  Sin’s beauty when it’s not seen as sin—only passion.  And I became a student of the earth’s comedy—teaching it to him—my first lover.  How I captured him in the aromas of the smoke he inhaled with me…  On our walks we passed a cornfield, bordered by a creek running dry that fall as it fed into the Sabine.  This where I revealed myself to him—I revealed my breasts, his eyes lustful, but his hands afraid.  

And I began to learn what she was trying to say—Sissy Walker in my visits to her porch, in the music I listened to there.  I understood the threats of my grandmother—her gypsy curse.  For he was a Bloodwood, Jeremy’s uncle—our country doctor’s brother—the father of my uncle.  Their marriage short-lived.  This shortly after the summer of my birth in 1923—their liaison, a marriage annulled in death—Bridgette’s, my grandmother’s second marriage.  Warren Bloodwood (the brother—Jeremy’s uncle) dying from cancer of the mouth, from the chew ever present under his lip.  But he didn’t die before birthing a son—my uncle (though slightly younger than me) a son my grandmother would live with later, in old age, in New Orleans after the war.  And the story of what happened there—in the 9th Ward.  That story coming later, the story of my husband’s death, and my remarriage—to him.  To a guitar player and a singer of songs.  The Blues his guitar strings, his voice played—reminding me of that summer, and those walks from Sissy’s porch. The music from that kitchen window fading with the steps that boy Jeremy Bloodwood counted.

 And this is what I learned.  What I learned from him—my first lover.  In his absorption. His fascination with numbers and what they represented. I learned of control and its tragic birth.  How it’s maintained in love.  For that is a man’s weakness—his self-absorption.  How when you give it attention you feed his self-love.  This what he really wants from you.  That attention that makes him feel good, passionate, what gives him his confidence.  And how when you take it away it’s like the withdrawal of a drug.  He becomes sick with loneliness, starving for the love and attention of your sex.  The art in how this is measured without him realizing you’re making this measurement.  Dosing him as it were.  Giving him what he needs and then taking it away.  All he realizing is he wants you without knowing why.  Only knowing when he has your attention his life has meaning, and when you take it away his food loses its taste…  It’s the secret of a woman’s power.  How our eyes falling on a man gives him his existence.  How our looking away causes him to disappear.  For we are the meaning in his mirror…

 

“You stay away from that boy!  That Bloodwood! You hear me!”

Her curses and shouts heard from out that window.  The same window from which she saw a rooster crowing from atop the back of a cow the day of her granddaughter’s birth.  Bethany’s grandmother—cursing—once she came to find out about Bethany’s walks from Sissy’s porch.  The meetings she had in a cornfield between there and her father’s mailbox, and a boy, a Bloodwood, chasing her along a dry creek bed with his pecker out…

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