19 plays

«After twenty years of marriage K. had given H. everything except children. It was clearly too late for that. Everybody said so, especially the doctors, who were the experts on childbearing. H. had been 67 when he met K., who was 37 then. Biology had spoken. 

For the first few years they made love like very young people again: without regard for time or space or the many demands of grown up life, which insert themselves so easily and effectively between a couple’s genitals. K. used protection, if only because that’s what she’d always done; and as if to show that even at his age he was still a responsible adult, H. used protection also, so that they were doubly sheathed against the chance of new life. …»

A different version of this story was published in 2012 at THIS literary magazine.

Posted at 3:31pm and tagged with: Mother, Story, Love, Baby, Speh, THIS,.

That’s our mother, our little, lovely old mother, who’s burning there, don’t you see? She’s lit herself for a good reason and now she’s already burnt half down, soon nothing will remain of her—not a bone, not a hair, not a nail—and we’ll have to poke around in the ash for her ancestral ring with the ruby, but we won’t find it, and thinking that nothing remains of her in this world we’ll go home where we notice that she left her stories lined up on the window sill (next to a forget-me-not) like little trophies of contests she had with herself. With her gone, the house will be blazingly empty and we will look at our birthmarks, trying to remember anything worth remembering across the battleground of time, anything worth anything before the beginning of this great war.

#47. First published at fwriction:review (2011). Photo:  self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức, during which he kept perfectly still. Pulitzer-prize-winning photograph by Malcolm Browne.


Posted at 10:14am and tagged with: lit, Thích Quảng Đức, Vietnam, Pulitzer, Malcolm Browne, fwriction:review, mother, burning, speh, lit,.

Confession. When I saw the stony feet of the holy man in the cathedral, I asked my father if I could touch them but my father said no and gave me a free lecture on respecting the dead instead. His annotations on relics were rich and flawless, his wit was apt to distract me from anything but my father’s fat round face glistening with the complacency of the erudite. We shared access to the same red-haired, wild muse whose wrinkles laughed story-storms and whose facial detail was absorbing. Still, I longed to touch those stone feet. I admired the toes the nails the way the naked feet of the saint stood up against anyone and anything in this church that made me feel like a nameless body in a herd, our eyes bulging at the deeds of the pure and the blessed. Years later, in the confessional, I talked about the anger against my father and the lust for my mother and, again, I received a stern speech, this time from the priest. I secretly gave him the finger and I knew God would approve of my rebelliousness. It was a care-free moment of belief. There was a queue outside the box and two lights - one green one red. A person would enter when the green light came on. I never saw anyone come out of that place. I was now old enough to stare at anything without being told off, but the fathers had wisely removed the encased saint, possibly because they smelled insurrection. I don’t think the priest or my father or anyone understood my infatuation with his grey granite feet that had six toes each just like mine.

#21. Photo: Thin Wet Line by Remittance Girl. Text published in Wilderness House Literary Review 6.2.

Posted at 10:32pm and tagged with: remittance girl, church, cathedral, catholicism, father, mother, toes, feet, saint, holy, confession, lust,.

Confession. When I saw the stony feet of the holy man in the cathedral, I asked my father if I could touch them but my father said no and gave me a free lecture on respecting the dead instead. His annotations on relics were rich and flawless, his wit was apt to distract me from anything but my father’s fat round face glistening with the complacency of the erudite. We shared access to the same red-haired, wild muse whose wrinkles laughed story-storms and whose facial detail was absorbing. Still, I longed to touch those stone feet. I admired the toes the nails the way the naked feet of the saint stood up against anyone and anything in this church that made me feel like a nameless body in a herd, our eyes bulging at the deeds of the pure and the blessed. Years later, in the confessional, I talked about the anger against my father and the lust for my mother and, again, I received a stern speech, this time from the priest. I secretly gave him the finger and I knew God would approve of my rebelliousness. It was a care-free moment of belief. There was a queue outside the box and two lights - one green one red. A person would enter when the green light came on. I never saw anyone come out of that place. I was now old enough to stare at anything without being told off, but the fathers had wisely removed the encased saint, possibly because they smelled insurrection. I don’t think the priest or my father or anyone understood my infatuation with his grey granite feet that had six toes each just like mine.
#21. Photo: Thin Wet Line by Remittance Girl. Text published in Wilderness House Literary Review 6.2.