What The Tin Man Said

I unscrewed the jar of cocoa butter on the tv stand (I had a jar in the kitchen, one next to my bed, and one on the computer table), warmed a daub between my palms and began a slow dragging spread. Up each arm, up each leg, another glob for my thighs and belly, and then fully anointed, bent over, crossed my arms, hugged my shoulders, felt the knife slice of the skin crack at the back of my waist, opened the cocoa butter again, and to soothe the burn, feathered three slight touches of wax coating.

Outside there was nothing to hear except tyres flicking cowlicks of snow, the rills of scraping banked aslant in the ploughs’ wake. My eyes sparked and watered at the only flashes in the dourness, the red, green and amber of the traffic lights at the intersection. I waited patiently for the pin-pricked tin man to open his scissors legs, signalling WALK above his head. All hooded and bowed, nobody spoke. Nobody could speak. In fact, it was only when you got indoors you would recognize anyone again.

© Cynthia James October 2014

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