Only Children, Part One of Two

The farm grounds are always empty the day after the sky lantern festival. Anthony stares out at the lie of the land, the shape and swell of hillocks and wet fields. For these few hours in the year, he is completely alone. The part-time boys, those lads continually slipping up and letting loose heifers into […]

The Last Three Days of Nissil And Henny, Part the First

It’s interesting how unpreocuppied he is with her naked body. In fact, he seems more interested in the contents of the medicine cabinet, entertaining himself for the better part of half an hour. He laughs softly at the oddly shaped containers the hotel management stocks, the ugly lime green complementary shower caps, the plastic toothbrushes […]

/ˈælfə sɛnˈtɔri/ Part The Fourth

On the third day the question of the bell arises. That morning Mina had brought over a baker’s dozen pamphlets detailing the touristic marvels of Mirana Seaside: seasonal dunes, salt marshes, sandspits. Dahlia’s lips curl and pucker with wonder at the glossy blue photographs and lovingly-written captions (“The birthplace of thousands of seagulls”, “Turn to […]

Summer Gods

Midday finds her in front of the stove, frying two eggs in butter. Even with the windows open in the kitchen, it’s hot enough to justify idleness, not that she believes she requires any justification. She’s been reveling in childhood pleasures all morning: full glasses of milk, improvised calisthenics on the balcony, handfuls of chocolate-filled […]

Opium Den, Part The Second

Sometimes I go to a concert with the usual pilgrims. We sit in line for hours, licking lipstick off our teeth. In square formation, lying on raincoats, we lean in towards each other, hair held in limp buns, swapping confidences. Some boys and girls abandon the front and trade spittle, fingertips playing along the fault […]

Opium Den, Part The First

Sometimes I go to an arcade with the usual pilgrims. We flit from golden basketball hoops to confessional-sized shooting simulators, ripping the attached cords from the plastic rifles. A pair at the billiards table shoot and sink balls, letting sport be the medium for their hot and heavy remarks (“got that one good, didn’t you?”). […]

The Cat Xylem

The cat Xylem is older than you, that’s for sure. But then again, the cat Xylem is unsure what words like “older” or “younger” even mean. He does not see them as independent terms, corresponding to items of human concern, but rather as amalgams of the alphabet, floating beyond his comprehension. He does understand the […]

THE MEMORIZATION OF PLANT TISSUES AT MIDNIGHT

Plant tissues stick to the mind more more readily when you associate them with human beings. I am a sucker for crafty and convoluted mnemonic devices. GROUND TISSUE Parenchyma: the most superlative-worthy of three sisters, she is the oldest, the prettiest, the smartest and the most murderous. Sly and dandy Parenchyma, in an unknown man’s […]

/ˈælfə sɛnˈtɔri/ Part The Third

On the fifth day, Dahlia follows Mina around the amusement park. The stalking hadn’t been a planned affair, but somehow seemed inevitable. There was that way Mina kept her hair tied up in elastic, fingers red and constantly in the company of each other, that manner of looking shaken-up and in need of a shaking-down. […]

/ˈælfə sɛnˈtɔri/ Part The Second

At her mother and Samson’s wedding reception, Dahlia steals candy buttons from gift bags and tells Auntie how upset she is at not being able to walk around the house topless any more. “Can’t do it with him around,” she says, licking her lips colored Yellow Number Five. “and even if I did, just look, […]