Welcome to Issue Six of LossLit Magazine.
The things I have seen. What went missing; what was lost, sometimes unaccountably. And once upon a time, I was not able to give sorrow words. Therefore, it held; I couldn’t cradle it, talk to it and say, ‘Hello thing, what can you teach me?’
But, you see, I learned.
I lost my virginity to a Mark Rothko painting.
Afterwards, noticing the blood, it murmured, ‘I didn’t know.’
‘Why would you?’
I stared at the painting – giving it my full gaze, trying to fathom its multiple horizons, searching the flat canvas for the dimensions I had just encountered. Its question diminished.
Close your eyes. What is the shape of your sadness, the color? How does it feel in your palm- can you trace it with your fingertips or is it invisible?
Look up. Imagine a heart-shaped balloon floating just beyond your outstretched fingertips. The balloon is the reddest of reds, the color of love and also blood. Imagine this red balloon tattooed on my 24-year-old bicep, smooth. Imagine this red balloon deflated, shriveled.
Requesting gems of sugared ginger,
skin pricked with bruises, pale
and loose on her bones –
at some point, since we’re in March,
the month of her birthday and mine,
she penned a card for me
She yawns in the fog, stretching up to the sky.
A yellow dirt road runs between her and me.
Appearances are deceptive from where I stand:
she seems the gothic ruin of a gothic castle,
turrets, greenhouses, gargoyles,
the unreal air of prison, refuge, cloister.
Billy’s alarm went off. He fried an egg, picked the old sticky pineapple chunks from the pizza box, and took out the bins. It was an early summer morning, and in Billy’s garden a strange navy bird was locked in a fight with two seagulls for a scattering of old, grey chips.
Monday had been a bad day. I had been asked to assist in the merchandising of the new store. I moved a lot of cheese. I worked with a complete disregard for my body, the way you work when you are beat. When you think fuck stopping; when you think there is nothing to be got or to lose. My shoes were coming to pieces. I lost my footing while lifting a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It was a 40 kgs and I pulled my hamstring. Instead of just feeling miserable I had a dumb limp too. Work is difficult, no it’s impossible, and I can’t shake off the desire to leg it and to blow Britain altogether, I am sure I’m not the only, I’m sure all things considered this feeling isn’t at all unique.
‘That damn tree blocks the light,’ he said. ‘It has to come down.’ She’d tried to convince him otherwise, reminding him how the tree had been there since they’d moved in, 40 years ago. ‘Gold crests nest in that tree,’ she’d said, ‘and squirrels. It’s not doing any harm.’ He dropped the net curtain and turned to her, ‘Not yet its not, but it will. It has to be fixed now, while there’s time.’
The stupid thing was, I can’t remember the last time I saw him. That bothered me for the longest time. Was it in the morning at breakfast, when he teased Ma about her terrible cooking; or when we couldn’t get him out of the bathroom, even when Da was banging on the door? Or was it later? Did he turn and look up at my window when he left? Did he pause and wave before vaulting over the gate? All I know is that he was there and then he wasn’t.
Martha bought a pair of those things. What are they called? Tongs. Went to an antique store on the mainland and came back with silver tongs she polished up and started using for sugar. This meant she had to buy cubes.
The ghosts are very slippery and wet, like silvery over-cooked spaghetti, surprising and disgusting in equal parts. Marnie can’t seem to stop coming across them: two in her sock drawer; three hanging grimly from the shower curtain; a very small, greyish ghost that curls up next to the milk in the fridge; one big one that keeps hogging the remote control.
There were days when life roared at us, we drank and sang
thinking there would be time enough, but fuck April—
it’s crueller to be alone in September, when leaves drop
with violence upon violence. I remember you and I and the evening
lying down before us, swept up by futures in which we had no future.