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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 …

the arc of avoidance / grasshoppers (the good dream)

She has questions about her mother. She sees the bedroom door closed, the depression, the woman behind it obsessed with money and the skin on her face and nothing else. 

She wants to know why this woman lies to her about almost everything. She wants to know why the refrigerator is near-empty in that house. She tells me about the memories she has of the three of us living together, and a specific fight one summer day. E remembers holding my neck and hanging off of me as that woman was screaming and how I took her outside and we had a long walk down by the river until the sun went down. E knows I told her some important things that day, but remembers none of them, just the look on my face, and the hoarse, embarrassed whisper of my voice after the argument.


The hot water has returned and we breathe relief. It is the time for putting things behind us. I make sure she takes a good long bath. She has a black ring around her neck even after the skin on her fingers has pruned up. I put the red plastic bucket behind the sink.  The arc of avoidance swings hard today.  This is the cleansing breath.

She wanders through the house on tiptoes, the towel wrapped tight around her.

The next morning she tells me she had a good dream.
"What was in it?" I ask.
"Well, it was you and me and we were in a house." She says.
"This house?" I ask.
"No, a house we never went to." She replies. "And there was a swing from the roof and I was on the swing and you were pushing me."
I nod and sip some coffee.
"And there were some grasshoppers in the street, and they were all walking in a line." She says, smiling. "They were all carrying a piece of corn."
"Really!" I say.
She nods.
"They were smiling." She says. "All of them."

Comments

liv said…
Exquisite photo!

She is so worth - everything.
Incognita said…
She has such a magical aura.

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