Marie Lecrivain is a writer/photographer residing in Los Angeles, the executive editor of poeticdiversity, and the author of two poetry collections: Canticle of a Bored Hausfrau (Sybaritic Press 2003) and poetry whored, an e-chapbook
(Tamafyhr Mountain Press 2004).
© 2004 Marie Lecrivain
the sabotage of mary b
On a damp, March
morning Mary B walks to the Cattaraugus Metro bus stop while her feet dispute
their confinement in new red French sandals.
The right pinkie toe rubs against the lining, deliberately shedding
layers of skin. Her lackluster arches, never well behaved, even in
cross-trainers, contract with Mary B's efforts to unwind the sinews as she
lengthens her stride.
Her left heel joins the aching cacophony with a steady C-chord whose
heavy bass notes climb up her calf to the knee. Mary B. tries not to cry;
she's traveled this road before in many pairs of shoes.
Her flirtation with her first pair of high-heels led to simultaneous
sprained ankles, and she missed her junior high school prom.
The Doc Martins she wore her first night on the graveyard shift at UPS
saved her from being crippled when a loader dropped an 85lb package on her
feet. The bruises ran deep, and her feet paid her back by refusing to let her
walk in the mornings. She lay in bed, watching the sun glide over her mottled
digits, trapped by the fear of putting the slightest weight upon them. The
pain was so sharp it shot up and curled in her gut, contracting her abs and
throat so tightly she retched.
Her feet are never silent. She has several pairs of black, high-heeled
boots with worn-down insteps; her weight puts unrelenting pressure on her
knees. She has sensible, low-heeled loafers, a pair of clogs with orthopedic
air-soles, and a pair of patent leather mary janes with adjustable straps
gathering dust in her shoe rack, because her toes curl up in distaste when
faced with the confines of another pair of shoes.
Each day starts with a battle; Mary B. gets out of bed, showers, gets
dressed, savors a cup of espresso, packs a basil, tomato and bagel sandwich
for lunch, takes a deep breath and goes back to her messy closet to pick our a
pair of shoes to subdue her rebellious feet.
She reaches the bus stop and the violent symphony quiets down while she
waits for the next transport. It arrives a few minutes later, and as its doors
open, she raises a foot to the bottom step. The bus driver puts a hand out to
"Are you okay?"
"Why?" She asks.
He gestures toward her feet. Between the sandal slats, blood drops are
rising, dripping down the sides, and highlighting the red of the sandals.
Mary B. smiles.
"Most of me...is fine, " she replies, as she sidesteps the other bus
patrons and takes a seat in the handicapped section. She removes a towel from
her purse, unfastens her sandals, and slides them off her feet. She bends
over, wraps the towel around her feet, sets them back on the floor,
straightens up and turns her gaze to the window.
The tide of pain ebbs, but Mary B. knows she'll be surfing it again. When the bus arrives at her work, she'll stick her martyred feet back in the sandals, and do her best not to surrender before the day is over.
reunited at the Gard du Norde one beautiful April morning. When he stepped off
the train, they spotted each other, and the anger between them melted. They
shared a long embrace. He forgot his ambivalence. She forgot her low
They ate an over-priced lunch, and then visited the Louvre. They held hands; she released him long enough to visit, and smile with the Mona Lisa.
photographed her blurred and backlit in the sculpture garden. When she saw the
picture, it became one of her favorites. It was her, yet not her, though she
couldn't say why.
went on a bus tour, declined to ascend the Eiffel Tower, and turned their
backs on Notre Dame. Over tzadziki and retzina they caught up on a backlog of
stopped at an Internet café. She emailed a quick note to her best friend:
"We are here. It feels like love...but, not quite. I crave a Diet
drifted through bars, and then rode the Metro back to his hotel. Every time he
glanced over his shoulder, he swore the same grimy accordion player was
serenading them. His head buzzed from too much alcohol to care.
checked in. She waited in the lobby, and tried to look detached. They went up
to his room, festooned in red and mauve velvet. Gold cord tassels held back
the bed curtains. A tension
sprung up between them. She stared at the bed. He grabbed her hand and
suggested they go out for a nightcap.
walked through Pigalle; its neon glare washed away the momentum between them.
At 3 am, they ended up in a Russian bar, where they ordered Martinis but
received two glasses of Asti Spumanti.
at the hotel, they stopped talking. He opened the windows, and the silence of
the morning floated in. He watched her strip. She got under the covers, and
arranged her hair on the pillow.
untied a gold cord. She raised her arms above her head. He tied her wrists
entry hurt her. She reveled in the pain, and then ruthlessly tightened around
slapped her breasts. She bit his lower lip. He drove into her, and pushed her
back into the pillows. She held her breath: It brought on the orgasm faster.
climaxed: she first, and then him.
At dawn, he went into the bathroom. She heard water running. He came
back, picked her up, carried her to the tub, and placed her in warm water and
jasmine-scented bubbles. He washed her back. His hands were gentle. She wept.
next day, they ended their interlude with the usual quarrel, and then took a
cab to the Garde Du Norde. He kissed her good-bye. She waved farewell as the
train sped away. She bought a Diet Coke at a newsstand, and quenched her
All work is copyrighted property of Marie Lecrivain.
© 2004 SubtleTea Productions All Rights Reserved