I saw this girl on the bus early Sunday morning after too little sleep. What I saw in her probably says more about me than about her.
Her hair was cut at her chin, striving for a kind of boldness, but its whisps and curls made it fragile and uncertain, slipping down around her face as she leaned over her cell phone, drifting along the collar of her quilted black jacket. She was clothed in blackness wholly, in black leather gloves and black wool skirt and black silk stockings and black patent shoes, and then, like blood, the redness of the scarf that split her blackness almost to the waist, a huge and ghastly incision, a wound that she had long ago given up trying to close, though her gloved hands, leathered and black, kept fluttering up, convulsively, to brush at the redness that spilled from her coat and chest, then down again to her skirt and tights, then up again to the colour oozing at her throat. She is dipping her fingers in blood, I thought, to write her incantations, hesitant and wavering, on her arms and stomach and thighs, to inscribe the wards, now long belated, of her protection.