Everything could have been different, yet all remains the same. For years Batgirl circled the globe, her eyes puddled with tears. Euripides, I’m told, despite his fame, clipped toenails in solitude. What I mean to say is, be patient with me, I’m lolling on the banks of a thought. I waited while she applied moisturizer to her legs. She resembled in those days a lake of gravy into which I was prone to dive, inadvisably. You smell like my subconscious, she once offered. Are you talking to me? I asked. Don’t be silly, she said. A squirrel tottered on the squirrel highway. Why are squirrels always doing that, she asked. Doing what, I asked. Always jerking around, like their heads are soldered with bad wire. Oh, I said. A cop came up to us. Do you have a permit to sit on this bench, he asked. Why no, officer, she said. That’s ok, the cop said, we no longer require them. I lost mine, I lied. He pulled out a brown handkerchief and wiped his broad brow. I hate my job, he said. The other day I caught two vagrants making love on this bench. What’s the matter with that, she asked. For that, the cop said, we require a permit. I pulled my hands off the bench, where I’d been tapping out a Norwegian lullaby. What did you do, she asked the cop. Nothing, he said, I was off duty. He sighed. I began to tap again. You have a fragility a wife could work with, she said. We both turned and asked, Me? Children are the most interesting to talk to, she said. They tell you what they know, then they stop.
Gary Percesepe is an editor at New World Writing.