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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 …

when you smile (I am a boat)

She stares at me for minutes on end without blinking. Some days her eyes are more gray, sometimes more blue. I watch the curl of her lips, the same as her mother's. The smile warms, inching across her face. I make noises, wiggle my face around into a thousand expressions. Her toe extends, as if it expresses all of the thoughts in her little head. The page turns and her face goes in on itself. I wonder if she has gas, or is about to cry. I see the lips trembling, the painful sounds brewing behind them. I find myself singing to her.

          when you smile
          I smile
          when you cry 
          I cry
          but when you laugh
          I laugh

The next page turns. The same eyes staring, looking straight through me. 
And then she does smile. A laugh bubbles over. 

Her hands are waving around. I have an idea this means she wants to be carried, to wander from room to room touching the same objects. First the little bell hanging next to the window in the kitchen. Then, the magnets on the fridge. Then the hallway mirror, where I see her reflection and try to gauge what she is interested in next. Then the balcony, staring out at the leaves bending hard in the wind. 

She slumps against me. I smell the hair on the top of her head and close my eyes, rocking from one foot to the other. Her tiny hands dance in circles in the air, pulling at the hairs on my arm, resting on them like I am a railing on a boat. 




Comments

liv said…
oh...what a face - a starlet in the making.
They talk so much with their eyes at this stage - they know so much.

Love the new header.

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