has a new look

Go to the new

2 prose pieces by Marie Lecrivain: "the sabotage of mary b" & "...but not quite" 

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 stop her.

      "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 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.






...but, not quite


They 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 self-esteem.

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.

He 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.

They 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 innuendo.

They 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 Coke."

They 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.

He 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.

They 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.

Back 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.

He untied a gold cord. She raised her arms above her head. He tied her wrists together.

His entry hurt her. She reveled in the pain, and then ruthlessly tightened around him.

He 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.

They 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.

The 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 thirst.





All work is copyrighted property of Marie Lecrivain.


[back to top]  [home]

© 2004 SubtleTea Productions   All Rights Reserved