I finally told her only two months ago, and since then I haven’t stopping talking: about Bonnie, about prison, about death. I tell myself Adela can handle it, that her work is this kind of suffering. She’d tell me if it made her suffer, too.
Two Ghost Variations
Every chest of drawers, every sneaker tread, every cigarette lighter—everything with the suggestion of two eyes and a mouth—hosted a secret visitor. Those visitors were the ghosts of the dead, who had no features of their own and therefore borrowed the faces of pot lids and wood knots to peer out at the living.
For Four Hands
Snapshot There is a picture of me when I was two, and in it I am playing the piano, fingers splayed, all ten fitting within half an octave. It isn’t framed, nor on display, as in it I am also buck naked, the curve of my back half a breath mark, stark white against the […]
When She Got Happy
Every corner of the home comforted her with little implicit messages: You are tasteful. You are smart. You are depressed, but it’s glamorous. She tucked herself into a corner of her fashionable grey couch and basked in it.
The man is collecting twigs and vines from around the yard and along the fence line, and the woman is twisting them together and then affixing them to a base they’ve made from concrete blocks. The blocks are the chair’s legs, and the seat is a garden hose coiled like a snake, or like a cinnamon roll, and then kept coiled with tied rope. The hose sits upon the legs, so if someone sat down they’d fall into a crevice. Maybe it’s a trap.
Sister Salamander and the Dybbuk
When we discovered the blood on Shira’s bed, we knew she had been possessed by a dybbuk. Grandma Mira used to tell us stories about the dybbuk—how it was a ghost that left a trail of blood on your bed, how it entered your body through the tips of your fingers or toes, how it made you convulse and foam at the mouth, how it enlarged your pupils to the size of matzah balls.
The year we turned sixteen, Genevieve entered an Amway-sponsored beauty pageant held in a local shopping mall. There were about a dozen teenage girls competing and two parts to the competition—the evening dress and the Q&A. Genevieve’s mother spent weeks altering a cocktail dress of her own from the ‘80s to fit Genevieve. It was the most exciting thing I could have hoped for my life: my best friend in a pageant.
That’s Why God Made Men
Pain is part of sports, I know. Not feeling pain runs in our family, Jerry says. I always say I can’t understand how you can teach someone to be tough without hurting them. He says I say that because I’m not a man.