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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 …

birds and sparkles

There are explosions, deep booms that rattle the windows. The sounds are thumping around the apartment, as E is about to fall asleep. I go to the kitchen window then the balcony and see no fireworks. E is in her bare feet, looking up at me.
"What is it?" She asks.
"Maybe for men's day." I tell her.
"But there are no lights." She says. "I mean no sparkles, no fireworks."
 I look out the window again, hearing the car alarms and see nothing but a low fog over the river.
She goes back to bed and we talk in low voices as the windows rattle, as the booming rolls across the houses.
"Maybe it is a war." She says, her eyes closed.
My stomach bunches up.
"I don't think so." I tell her.
The windows are jumping around. I press the worst thoughts out, the idea that these are bombs, and how they could easily be the sounds of revolution but aren't. No, they cannot be.
I go to the balcony one more time, craning my head out of the open window. I take my phone and hold it way outside, clicking a picture. There are fireworks, far in the distance on Lenin's Hill.
I show E the picture and she smiles a little, patting my hand once and closing her eyes.
"Stay here until I fall asleep, ok?" She asks me.
Her hands drape across her chest like tiny birds.







Comments

liv said…
Celebration and revolution - so easily confused there.

Loved the last line.

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