Rendered Fat Content


There’s a secret in this house. Though nobody’s even whispering it, everyone feels its presence. Deep, dark, dreaded, endlessly fretted over, nobody goes unconscious around it. It hurts to hold it, even more to keep from mentioning it. Visitors can’t quite understand.

I make up stories explaining why this might be. They range from generous to scathing; each fiction. I wonder if the shame I sense might be fictional, too.

Might not a fictional joy elbow her way into this tragedy? She would be no more real than the unmentionable. She might even maintain anonymity by being unspeakable herself, but leave a palpable enlivening behind her.

We are the great American novel, bending the facts to suit our situation, though some situations seem to bend the facts to suit themselves, something held mute and powerful, spitting in everyone’s everyday oatmeal.

I want to flee into a world where this sweet July sunshine isn’t filtered through this shady side story, where the sins of the past flee before me into the past where they belong, and the long twilight before dawn lingers around the edges until she meets with the lingering light at the end of the day. Dust might bronze the best of these days, and reflection amplify already scorching heat, but the world will seem younger than her years and will remain younger than the sun however old she might appear.

I am digging through my past, pulling and discarding errors leftover from my former days. I am bathing in the dust, throwing off fine streams of sweat, drinking deeply from a sun-warmed water bottle. Tea hot. Baby clean.

There are secrets in my house, too, and they rule through silence. They flee before my good humor and my lightening heart. I have only rarely been this dirty or felt so clean.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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