they just came back from a trip, from
somewhere, make it from somewhere in eastern
Europe, make it Prague because of the cheap beer
and because of Kafka.
think of Prague and think of a bug on its back and
its legs scuttling the air. think of their trip as a
large confused helpless bug.
he said he was going to write but the portable
typewriter never made a sound. he just sat on the patio
that overlooked some part of the city with his feet up
on the wrought iron railing and his face against the sun drinking
the cheap beer. less than 50 cents a bottle if you know where to
find it. I don’t know what that is in Prague money.
he grew a beard and one day said Hey look at this and she looked
and he was resting the beer bottle on a bulge in his stomach that
wasn’t there before. like a little shelf. she looked at him and looked at
his stomach and gave a smile that wasn’t really a smile and said
she was going out.
she came back with some cheese and bread and 3 bottles of wine.
I imagine the cheese to be white and pitted and the bread to be
thin and hard and the wine to have a label showing people
stomping grapes and she drank 2 of the bottles herself and that
was the last night the trip went well. remember the scuttling bug.
after 2 months they came back, alone together, a name of a song
from the ‘40’s. Jo Stafford sang it and it fits here.
he tried to ignore it and she tried to make him not ignore it and
one day she went to him and stroked his Prague beard and said
Let’s get rid of this.
she lathered him and sat on his lap to shave him and he
thought this was the beginning of everything being ok maybe this
was her idea of foreplay?
she finished and handed him the mirror and he stared at the 2
halves of his face. the top half brown with tan and the bottom
looking like the cheese she may’ve eaten in Prague. he looked
at her and said You did this on purpose didn’t you? she didn’t
say anything her eyes were lakewater calm.
he tried to think of something else to say
but she didn’t have to.
originally published in MILK, #1