She knew if she loved him she could make him
happy, but she didn’t. Or she did, but it sank
into itself like a hole and curled up content.
Surrounded by the blur of her own movements, the
thought of making him happy was very dear to her.
She moved it from place to place, a surprise she
never opened. She slept alone at night, soul of
a naked priest in her sweet body. Small soft hands,
a bread of desire rising in her stomach. When she
lay down with the man she loved and didn’t, the
man opened and opened. Inside him an acrobat
tumbled over death. And walked thin wires with
nothing above or below. She cried, he was so
beautiful in his scarlet tights and white face
the size of a dime.
—Jayne Anne Phillips, “Happy”