Cate Chason

Artist Portfolio

See that woman over there? She has a key on her head. It froze while she was

walking in the park, and now it’s under her hat, thawing out.

Observe: she jogs. This is to hurry things along. The scalp is

rich with capillaries that will fill with blood

that will warm the skin

that will thaw the key. (Disclaimer: I don’t know beans

about scalps.)

When the key is fixed the woman will use it to start her car and drive to work.

She will put needles in her patients--exceedingly fine needles;

You barely feel them.

First her fingers will find the blocked energy, the

Silted channels, the dammed-up current. She will parse out the pain,

the anxiety, the cells run amok, the twitching nerve. Then

she will put in the needles.

She jogs on ice. She balances a key fob on her head

as Kazantzakis balanced a canary.

She is careful not to slip. She wears spiked shoes.

It is important, no? For she must put in the needles.

Also: if she falls she could break a hip.

Then her mother might fly up from the tidewater South

And sit vigil by her bed and ask why in God’s name she was

out in the cold like that.

Later the mother would pat the woman’s hand and offer up the usual fare:

a river of sorrow in which they might swim

—just the two of them!

Old biddy with her firmament of grievances, needling away.

Where did the woman in the park learn to put a frozen key in her hat?

Where did she learn that the human head is a regular glowing ember atop a

scaffolding of bones?

Not in the tidewater South. Not where winter is no more than the

Breaking of fever.

Where everyone knows it’s only the half-wits and feebleminded that go around

jogging on ice with a key on their head.