That night going the long way, round the back-roads with the real gardens and the old people’s home and the footpaths twisted like broken teeth and drunkenness and that lie you told the day before. All Saint’s Eve, choked with allergies and lost bees and milk-pale skin and the promise of heat. There had been too much garlic in the moo nham tok, not enough chili in the gang massaman. You took photos of a grape vine seeded in a rotted pipe, the clusters of green fruit dick-shaped and hard and bitter. At the bus-stop, a woman asked the time; she had to lay flowers at the cemetery for a husband who survived the Holocaust but not the flu, who died hot and aching and tired. You worried about her fumbling around tombstones on an evening for undead things, and she told you she’s nearly there, that the tock-tick of limbs was slowing to the lub-dub of a heart filled with ghouls. At the end, she said, small things will catch you, worm inside like a black thought and fill up the spaces between memory and bone. In the morning, you found a bush rat on the front lawn, its little body matted thick with brown ants and flies. You buried it beneath the jasmine, ribs skywards, pink belly split wide, and tucked in the dirt like a benediction, a blessing for the safety of the ground.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 3.
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