Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How We Die and Other Stories

Three breakfast burgers, savory with spinach, sit just heated on a plate
listening to the sounds of cats leaping and curling between window-screens
and lace kitchen curtains, excited by morning activities,
tease the huge steel stove dominating the
center of the kitchen of this 19th century cambridge apartment,
bellowing, “All those who see me must bow down in my presence.”
The man bustles around the beast and its captors, sink and refrigerator,
and pulling up his socks and picking up the nearest cat,
coo-ing “goodbye my love” into its white fur, presses kisses into their necks.

His mouth talks into his iphone, an extension of his soft-hands,  lingual, linguist telling it
in slow, over-anunciated English, “Gandmother died. I will be going to New York. Call me - if - you - want - to - take - the bus down - with me.”

Last night he told me about how things die. Grandmothers die when they stop drinking water, the way poets die with they stop drinking daydreams.

I smell the pungency of humidity and rush-morning cats, the sound of trucks waking and buses breaking, signaling it’s time for work- they, too, speak languages I never knew I wanted to know.

He raises his hand to his mouth and in his heart-rush pauses to think of what he’s forgotten - here he evokes the young Euryalus just fallen in battle, the blush of rose just passing from his cheeks- long lashes curled over his lids half closed in thought, black hair freshly showered and slicked back, beating body elegantly draped in mourning polo and dress pants.

I grab hold of his torso to remind him of his forget-thought, and he presses me closer. J’ai dit: “Vous avez une accent tres beau.” We converse in French, and I reveal to myself I’ve forgotten how we found ourselves here, in this kitchen asking about death and masala burgers, skirted men and how men become women, and things I didn’t know I learned. Today I told my mother how to come out of her skin and self-actualize.

“Tu me trouvez tres beau, plus fascinating et je te bewildered,” he said last week. Only later did I realize I should have been embarrassed 

The way a man discovers that his penis is the same size as his father’s; before then, one’s own feels like an orchid in a forest, carefully studied, mysteriously nourished.

A funeral awaits, Jewish grandmothers and rebellious cousins, too, but the only thing I remember is this: I found him in a forest. He smells of soap, pink lips and buddha brows. He’s inquisitive, open, honest and expressive, compassionate, deeply perceptive, and with raised hands tells me I can stay a few minutes after he leaves if I want to.

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