I said everyone has a memory of walking through a field of corn, and you said it wasn’t corn…
It’s August in the midwest. I’m fifteen and me and my cousin Coreene sit on the top step of her front porch.
“The therapist says I’m a wreck,” the husband said.
“We’ve already established that,” said Lulu.
They found her body in the mountains, face burned. In her locker at the train station they found nine passports and three wigs.
The slam of cupboards and loud singing wakes me. I have to get my bearings, the strange bed, the fog in my head. Who is that? Wait, familiar voice.
I was a piggish child, thin and small. I wore glasses and would eat anything—it was my way of knowing the world. I ate mold, weeds, shoe polish, and fish food. I tasted shit.
On channel 232, a group of panty-hose-faced robbers shout orders in the airy lobby of a bank, waving their guns in front of them like majorettes.
“It’s not there.”
“What’s not there?”
“I’m not sure.”
Ever wish we’d picked another? You whisper at Mary’s party. Our daughter spits on her candles, dives into an ice cream cake with both fists.
I never touched the gorilla, I say. I got better things to do.
Strange, but true: Water and ice freeze at the same temperature. And, steam and water boil at the same temperature.
We move through the night, Burt and I. My brother who has stayed up past his bedtime. Who has followed me into the night where the crickets line against the houses deep in song
I think of you often, Mr. Switzerland. How you spoke perfect English and were not deterred by my accent.
You shoulda seen the shock I had in the 70s, down to the shoulders, thick, dark, two fingers to the suits. And the burns along the jawline.
The old man fell asleep in his car, his nostrils pressed softly against the steering wheel, but the car kept going, because the old man’s foot was not asleep, was still pressing down hard, and later they would say, it’s not really his fault, he’s such an old man.
I tell you I’ve only ever shown it to a girl who I met on a tour bus in Moscow, where I was traveling with my parents. She had bad acne, and she really liked Duran Duran.
Kate is not ‘imagining it’. There are small tufts of pale fluff on her neck, and no, it’s not ‘just a tissue in the washing machine’ as John suggests. There’s nothing drifting off his shirts, nothing clinging to Ella’s favourite black top, Josh’s Minecraft t-shirts. It’s more solid than tissue, just on her clothes. And only she can see it.
Ignis, the flaming wreckage, bubbling rubber, liquified cloth, her skin charred and blistering, acrid smoke, the tiny thunders of survival’s kicks