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I believe in artichokes

Italy did ruin me. After that first trip I came back disgusted by bodega coffee, which now smelled of old socks. Before, it was just fine. I rolled my eyes at red sauce joints, detouring old standbys like a stranger. If eating can be seen as a religious or spiritual experience I had been to the mountain. In time I would return on pilgrimages, always holding the simple pleasures in my thoughts.  An artichoke, methodically fried in good olive oil, with some salt. Black truffles, good butter and fresh pasta twisting around the back of a fork. A very cold and tiny glass of porto bianco sipped in a Genoa bar, with my friend Federico. A man cleaning sardines on a block of wood in the street. A woman selling green figs that she wraps into a newspaper cone. I have thousands of these memories, these artifacts. But I live in Moscow, where there has been an embargo for years now, and there is no population that expects perfect mounds of fresh cheese. They ship powdered palm oil here, that gets …

from the moon to the earth (after the storm)


There is the eye of the storm, and the calm before it.

There is the aftermath, when overturned chairs and downed trees block the roads. We emerge, in yellow raincoats and tall boots. We wonder if the stores are open again. There is money in our pocket for something savory, then maybe something sweet.

The wet earth smells of bee pollen and dead leaves. This time is rarely noted. It is not a moment to pick up the pen and find a scrap of paper. It is a time to take a long walk, to gaze into the distance and imagine great things there.

It is a time to stay up late.


E is growing. There is a sadness to her, a defeated expression is there when she thinks no one is looking, when I spy her on the playground alone before I take her from school. 

She paints on a smile. She makes jokes. She asks me what is for dinner. 


Sometimes it feels like we are the same person.

She knows joy. She knows love. 

She knows what sacrifice is, and how to crack an egg. 


This morning she woke up as I tiptoed into the room, my first coffee balanced in one hand. Her eyes adjusted to the bright room, a sky completely white as snow coughed from the clouds. We could not see as far as the next building.

She sighs, pulling stuffed animals and warm blankets to her chin.

"Pop." She says.
"Yeah?" I say.
"I had a dream." She continues.
A catalogue of nightmares unfolds in my imagination. A new page waits to record the newest one.
"It was a good dream." She says. "I was on the moon, and you were on the earth and I was jumping from the planets and you were catching me."
"Woho!" I say.
She giggles.
I stand, pretending she is falling from the sky and I run around the living room imagining how I catch her.





Comments

liv said…
Ahhhh, here's to good dreams, papas who can catch and your beautiful rununculus, they are gorgeous, just like your girls.

That is so encouraging that you are in her subconscious as the one who keeps her from falling. Her safety net, her hero.

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