nineteen (the ballad of the sea-bass)

They say that on Wednesday, the fourscore of April, a great fish rose above the waters and began to sing. It was a wintry day; cold and blue. Her scales glittered like wet sequins. While she sang, she waved her pectoral fins, as though she danced upon the air. Clouds formed around her, … Continue reading

Author : nike
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eighteen (what we do not wholly possess)

Marcel Proust once wrote: One only loves that which one does not entirely possess*. And Proust, as you know, has often been mistaken for a philosopher. Or a relationship advisor. He was French, after all, and we often confused ‘being French’ with a capacity for understanding love. We had thought that … Continue reading

Author : nike

seventeen (relinquere)

The English verb relinquish comes from the Latin relinquere meaning to leave behind, forsake, abandon, or give up. I first encountered this verb as a young girl, at Sunday School, where I learned the story of the two women who bought their custodial dispute before the wise king, Solomon. The women lived together … Continue reading

Author : nike

fifteen (boiled eggs and alcohol)

There are children singing in the courtyard. The same clapping game my sister and I once played. Three-six-nine, the goose drank wine The monkey chewed tobacco on the street-car line … If I could, I would rise from my chair and go to the window, look down and see them. … Continue reading

Author : nike

fourteen (death, dildoes and daffodils, Act IV, Scene iv)

ear Winter, come you further in, fingering the wormholes of Hermione’s heart? Sixteen times she and I have wintered in this hall, warmed each other’s beds. She has risen over me, ridden high as a conqueror on the waves of my flesh And I, divided, have fallen eagerly beneath each … Continue reading

Author : nike

thirteen (five and twenty men)

for Darryl Chalk Fracastoro blamed the gown. Veronese, it was, and furred. Centuries later Mead, the gentle physic, wrote that furrs, feather, silk, hair, wool, cotton, flax* could imprison and release contagion. But back then, the men were fools, and nothing so precious as my fur could be burned. One after another … Continue reading

Author : nike

twelve (carrion415)

Carrion415 was old, but she was well-respected. She had been the first to carry dizygotic twins for two different sets of parents. Just thirteen she had been, and as narrow-hipped as a garter-snake, but she had carried them to term. A boy for his family in Berlin; a girl for her family … Continue reading

Author : nike

eleven (kitchen hand waiter coffee guru)

The advertisement called for a tall man, to work in a ‘small close nit cafe’. She imagined this lice-ridden giant reaching up to the high shelves in the café, and wondered who had put things up so high in the first place. Perhaps it was one of the curiously mixed … Continue reading

Author : nike

ten (the divide)

It was my sister who came, down from the mountain, when the rest of them refused. I hadn’t seen her in ten or eleven years, but she was largely unchanged. ‘Come home,’ she said, kissing my cheek. ‘I can’t,’ I said, kissing hers in return. My groom was sleeping by … Continue reading

Author : nike

nine (the man in the blue coat)

They stood just inside the doorway, wrapping themselves in coats and scarves. Finally, the grandmother grasped the young girl and pulled her close, kissing her on both cheeks. ‘One kiss is yours,’ she said. ‘The other is for your husband.”I don’t have a husband,’ said the girl. Her grandmother buttoned her … Continue reading

Author : nike
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