When the parrot went missing, I put my hat on, took my father-in-law’s Peruvian cane with the carved parrot, asked my husband to come home, placed his skates by the gate, and headed out, leaving the entrance door unlocked. The parrot, Torrap, had long discovered how to unlock the cage door with a combined action of nails and beak, and how to open our bedroom door, by calling the dog’s name (God
MEDITATION AT RIO DEVA
How to distinguish a trick
Of the eye
From wind in a chestnut
Or waking from dream
Dissolve and give way
The body strapped
To its shadow
Weighs no more
Values of letters
Do not make the name
Of God any more say-able
All knowledge is arcane
And thus prevents
To the immanent beyond
It’s hard to get used to
As when detained By
I leave my aroma, strong enough to put out the lights or clear a room, to Cassie, my vegan lover, who can use it to protect her patch of vegetables and plants. I leave a pile of hair to my pillow, to the many dust bunnies leaping from room to room, to the finches looking for fur to line their nests. I leave all my best insults to Sri Lanka, formerly Louis, who has stolen most of them anyway
On the terrace across the street below the elms in fickle light, you eat dishes that are neither here nor there. Facing the canal, you lower your spoon into your bowl of soupçon and come up empty, as though the dash of salt is just an idea. You stab your fork into a generous cut of something dark, waiting for the blood to sprout, and instead meet the resistance of a slice of toasted
I’m typing here because Larry the electrician has just—and I know it’s Larry because can I see his lean bearded figure through the upstairs office window as he stands before the front door holding that green cell phone, which nearly glows in the lengthening shadows, and Larry is looking more worn than usual because it’s 5:30 in the evening and he’s on our threshold but he’s missing
She demanded an explanation. At the photographer’s request, she stood next to him and smiled at the camera until it flashed but she was not in the photo. The photographer was adamant that something was wrong with her not his camera. He took another photograph with her holding a stuffed bear. Then he took her by the arm — as if incompetent — and showed her the bear floating in the center
It was not surprising that Tomás and Julio were having another argument. Ever since Shukura had left last month, most of the students were on edge. All of our children from Egypt and Bangladesh were now gone and no one was sure which group would be next. I had broken up two fights in the schoolyard in the past week alone as my remaining ESL students tried to sort out their places in the pecking
January 2, 2017
I was telling Joelle I was almost finished reading her memoirs. I’d been reading them side by side, an odd way to read, sort of like an old two-columned Ashbery poem, or an obscure passage from Derrida’s Glas. Derrida was something else entirely. We’d see each other on the conference circuit, which I can no longer abide. He sent me a letter once, written in French. Which I treasured
The damn cat has disappeared again. Truth is, I’d turned the hose on him as I was cleaning the cat box outside during a spell of warmer weather.
“Get the fuck out Orayo,” I’d bellowed.
I clean the cats’ boxes, vacuum their litter off the floor, buy them high-end cat food made by Wellness and have weaned them off kibble, which bloats their guts. Just call me a pathological caretaker — maid
Tommy was on his way to the 7-Eleven to buy condoms. He had offered to use Saran Wrap and a rubber band, but Sheila wasn’t game. They had just met and they had both been drinking, but apparently not enough. Tommy felt relieved when she suggested the errand. It would give him time to think, to figure out what he would say to Melissa, his girlfriend of two years, when he saw her the following day.
Her orange dress and the butterfly hat and the edge of woods. She is saying she built a fort and I am yelling out my window that I’m not allowed out today.
“Bella,” my mother yells from where she is patching Dad’s work shirts in the kitchen, “Get away from that window and back to cleaning up your room—all those pinecones and snake skins are probably crawling with worms.”
We are only allowed
Push the right button and my toes go numb, sometimes at home, sometimes in the car while waiting at a stop sign. I wish I had x-ray eyes to look inside my leg, to magnify the disconnected nerve endings, to lasso them back into position, into submission.
It’s early September and my ennui is epic. Temps rising into the mid 90s my smartphone says. I can feel my pulse pounding under the sheen
Early evening on a Friday, wine and cheese time at the inn where we checked in only an hour ago, and we’re seated just outside the door to the serving area, wrought-iron table and chairs on the edge of a courtyard, a fountain babbling within earshot. We’re armed with glasses of local wine, mine a red blend called Raving Lunatic and Lionel’s a Syrah called Intimate Betrayer, well into our
Autumn is my burden. My mornings come mid-afternoon. I crawl out of bed by the light between the purple velvet curtains from my failed second-marriage bedroom. I take a swig of vodka to wet my cracked lips, light a cigarette on the fumes of my next breath.
My eldest daughter is visiting. She got sick matching shots with me last night. I held her hair over the toilet I have not cleaned in months
I couldn’t really say why I hadn’t killed the bull. Not right away, when everyone kept asking. I struck at it several times in the exact spot I should, but I could not sink the blade. I couldn’t say to my friends inside the vehicle what had happened, after the bullfight, but I knew. I knew exactly what had happened. It was the bull’s tear that paralyzed me. Although my body seemed to move