i have messages from mo and oona.  they want me to schedule dinners with them when i arrive back in oxford.  at first i’m excited and trying to figure out which day of the week works best.  a man comes delivering newspapers and i see him through the frosted glass of my front door while he stands in the vestibule.  he sees me too and waves.  i open the door.  outside there is a walkway below my home and at eye level is the top of a citywide pond.  it’s not supposed to be like this.  i am concerned for the people out there.  a flood of this proportion, there must be injured, dead, homeless! he tells me it’s not that bad, he and his girl sonya like to go along the walkways and record movies.  i’m in disbelief.  the water is running over the edge of the city filling the walkways.  while we’re talking hannah bounds between us and leaps over the walkway into the flood.  i scream her name.  i go out to find her and see full semis slam into each other, pushed by waves on flooded roads.  one man is sitting calmly in a truck even after being slammed into.  i got to him and it’s Tom Waits.  he looks at me and knows.  “you’re one of them.”  he means a torturer.  yes.  male torturers are well known and wear the cloak announcing their profession.  most people don’t know that there are female torturers, or what we have mastered. “wear it for two hours” he tells me, as a way to prove it.  i have worn it for much longer, but he doesn’t know that.  i pull from my waist band a group of thin metal poles that become a 5-pointed star about the size of my palm with the flick of my wrist.  without breaking eye contact with him i push it up, deep into my vagina and stand up straight, the points of the star poking my walls, an open cavern at the end of a tunnel.  i leave him.  the lower walkways become a labyrinth and still i follow them screaming for my dog to return to me. out of nowhere, she does.  she’s wet and looks happy, standing on the edge of the world. her silver hairs are glistening in the sun (it was never raining, only waves).  i take her in my arms and it occurs to me that she is 12.  if i pursue another degree in oxford she will be 14 when i return.  if she is still here when i return.  and i know i can’t do it.  there are no dinner plans to be made.  i’m not leaving her.
on a train, sitting next to a man who is a few years younger than me.  he invites me to dinner once we reach our destination.  vegetarian indian food, he insists.  ok.  he is beaming with his success and asks an attendant to please start a movie for us.  she says the only movie she hasn’t seen is “mr big ___” they are discussing whether he has seen it, whether it’s supposed to be good or not.  i look at this sweet boy of a man and i wonder if he can even comprehend my ability to crush all bones at climax, let alone that i have done it numerous times. “i’ve seen it,” i tell them.  “it’s the story of tom waits.  it’s good.” i do not tell him that i met tom waits earlier or that the star is hot now, moving from uncomfortable to pleasurable.  i adjust myself so that the vibrations of the train are just right and pull his arm around me, leaning against his chest and waiting for the movie to start.
In a classroom that is part of a hospital that is also my job.  somehow when pulling my work from my bag, i have chipped the lens of my glasses.  it’s on my blind side so it doesn’t affect my sight but i’m upset by it.  i need new glasses anyway, but they’re so expensive.  i need to go to the second floor to the optometrist there but the elevator has half floors and i don’t realize at first that i’ve gotten off on a hospital floor, not a merchant floor.  i go back from 2.5 to 2.  the lens crafters-like place is all bright lights and glass.  it’s irritating to stand there.  and then i realize that they won’t make my glasses anyway.  i still have to see an ophthalmologist to get the right prescription before paying for my lenses to be remade.  they won’t get it right here. and i wanted new frames.  frustrated with myself i got back to the classroom.  there are spreadsheets and charts on the wall.  the movement of the sun, astronomical coordinates.  i remember the star and reach up to collapse it back into thin poles, pulling it out and relieving the dull ache.
now maybe i can think straight.