A woman supine on a Mexican blanket is pitted like an olive, with one deft twist. The brass bars of a wind chime hang above her like a skeleton. Her joints glow in the dark, like something freshly soldered. She sleeps.
The men in the front room peer out the glassless windows and listen for moans. When the infant comes, it will be an icon of metal scraps and fish-heads. They will set it in a bare corner atop a
It will scrabble. White powder will film its brown belly. One of its arms will be crustacean.
The dark man and his wife—their hands will fit together grimly, like railroad cars coupling.
I took the tiny Guatemalan doll out of its knitted pouch. It looked like Nanci, recently dead. Dark hair, straight features, a Twilight Zone moment.
Nanci could have reincarnated as this doll, comfortable in her little pouch with no need for food, toileting or other mortal maintenance.
She looks forward to my gently removing her from the knit-work to hold insomniac
conversations. She has plenty of time to catch up on her sleep. After all, she’s dead and, as she always joked, busy painting or making photographs or traveling in distant lands, I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead.
My dentist tells me I have acid erosion. Then he bashes Princess Diana. She might have been pretty but she was dumb, he says, a typical aristocratic British daughter, raised to be a potential Windsor brood mare.
What are you saying, I demand. Diana’s been dead… how long? And today you want to bash her? You know I admired and respected Diana. You know I was in love with her (I stifle a sob).
I regret taking the nitrous oxide. Me and Dent huff it recreationally after my appointments, at other times too. We prefer it to cocktails.
Oh, he says, a new biography just came out about good old Princess Dead. I’ve been reading it, and the author’s style and sensibilities have affected me.
Dent and I have been friends since junior high, when he admired my performance art. Now I’m a portrait painter, not terribly successful. I show up in his office in paint-spattered pants. Dent pays his assistant extra to work on me because she despises me and the smell of turpentine.
Dentistry is soulless, I accuse him. Every year you become more callous, more empty. Princess Diana shone like the Virgin in the grotto at St. Mary Star of the Sea.
Dent turns off the nitrous. He yawns. Yeah, yeah, she was a princess she was, he says in a bad British accent.
My favorite cousin killed herself. She took a massive dose of Benadryl. She won’t have to worry about bee allergies ever again. She won’t have to run screaming from them. She won’t have to fear any toxin. She won’t have to fear the toxins inside her head.
I’m so pissed at her, I want to plunge my arm into a bee hive. I want to scream in earthly pain.
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over fourteen-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including several times in THE MISCREANT. He has been nominated for numerous prizes, and. was awarded the 2017 Booranga Writers’ Centre (Australia) Prize for Fiction. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To read more of his work, Google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver, Colorado, USA.