Going Forth/ Bad American Karma

Amy L. Bernstein

You are naked but for the spangle-flecked blanket, all tiddlywinks, stars, and sparkles, enfolding you like a seashell’s whorl,

a superhero’s cape,

an all-purpose excuse for avoiding entanglements that might pierce your flesh or leave even the slightest, faintest trace of purpose or pity or something uncomfortably in between—

a bruise of some kind.

Blanketed, you stride down the avenue like Lady Godiva without her horse, the streaky fabric streaming behind you like a flowing river of golden locks.

Clever how your tender flesh, all hidden and be-layered, denies the witnesses beholding your passage the satisfaction their gnawing hunger demands.

You wish not to be followed or even understood, but to get so lost, the blanket itself grows weary, its grip loosens, or your grip loosens: impossible to know for sure. The locomoting blanket loses steam and grinds to a flat halt on the pavement, or the grass, or the stony shore, wherever and whenever you part ways.

The spangled blanket made by fingers the size of a buttercup’s petals:

More hungry witnesses denied a satisfaction of one sort or another.

Let some stray waif or fairytale-besotted oaf take up the blanket, stained with your exploits and half-veiled intentions. Let them stage a new parade, perhaps flesh-baring this time, the blanket more prop than cover.

You will paddle away toward a cool, clear, baptism, a ritual purification to wash off the last of the spangled blanket’s filthy microbes.

You get away with everything, yet again.

Amy L. Bernstein writes stories, essays, and poems that let readers feel while making them think. Her novels include The Potrero Complex, The Nighthawkers, Dreams of Song Times, and Fran, The Second Time Around. Amy is an award-winning journalist, speechwriter, playwright, and certified nonfiction book coach. When not glued to a screen, she loves listening to jazz and classical music, drinking wine with friends, and exploring Baltimore’s glorious neighborhoods, which inspire her writing. Learn more at www.amywrites.live.

Amy L. Bernstein

Michael Brockley
The Widowmaker at Owl Light