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every other man

The light outside the main entrance to our building has gone out again. The heavy metal door swings wide as I pull a hat down over my ears. In the darkness there are maybe twenty teenagers standing still. My boot scrapes across the ground, slowing down. Their hands in pockets, shoulders hunched, I look for a space to pass between them. A voice appears, saying hello in English, with an obvious accent. I am all instinct, sayingpivyet as I pass, not looking back, wondering who said this. There was a boy that was an extra in Blackbetty that lives in our building, but he is too young, too short for it to have been him.

I look back, navigating the puddles in the street. It does not make any sense.

N is with V, making their way home. I meet them, pulling V into my arms as she chatters about her day, about dry leaves and princesses, about her grandmother's apartment and what she ate there. We are going back home, and I try to explain the odd collection that stands outside. As we pass th…

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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