If you love, adore the moon. If you rob, steal a camel.

Stories for the Long Silk Road

Friday, February 1, 2013

David Rawson: A Week of Magic

Every morning in the kitchen, before I leave for the puzzle factory,
my father performs a magic trick.
I was told that if I wanted to know my future, I should ask
the lady who lives in the tree.
As we drove back from the Irish pub,
listening to Rage Against the Machine’s cover of “Maggie’s Farm,”
two-pint Guinness George looked up to the stapled lining of my Olds,
and said, “Damn. That girl’s a BITCH.”

Monday, I drank the rest of the orange juice as my father
Put a toy car in his mouth and swallowed.
I asked her, “Lady in the Tree, why do you live in that tree?”
Hearing past your voice, past my question,
the am-I-wasting-my-time kind.

Tuesday, he took my last twenty dollar bill out of my wallet
and rubbed it between his palms until a finch came out.
I won’t leave my wallet on the kitchen table anymore.
She threw an acorn down to me, and I caught it between my
palms. She replied, “I supposed it’s as good as any other tree.”
What we didn’t do: go out to the bridge so you could see blue
night whales and hear lostgods calling through rock.

Wednesday, father took all the removable compartments
Out of the refrigerator and walked inside.
I opened it, and the fridge was empty. When I opened a cabinet,
father’s arm reached out to hand me cornflakes.
I called up to her, “No, I mean why live in any tree at all?”
She sang Lover went away, and he never came back
Wonder what they did to my lover
He sent me letter til a year ago
Wonder what they did to my lover
He wished that he could come back home
Wonder what they did to my lover
He promised me marriage and a big back yard
Wonder what they did to my lover
Mama tells me not to wear his ring
But I am waiting on my lover
Father brought home the banker’s son
But I am waiting on my lover
Brother brought home the quarterback
But I am waiting on my lover
Sister brought home a sailor man
But I am waiting on my lover
My niece petted your black hair and asked if you liked apple juice.

Thursday, father took my coffee mug off the counter and
shook it gently with both hands, chanting the name of my mother.
I began to hear the sound of coins rubbing against each other.
I counted the coins that night. Exactly twenty dollars.
I asked the lady in the tree, “Do you know how I will die?”
She lowered a bucket on a rope, and I put in the red shoelace
from my right shoe. As she pulled the basket up, I said, “And maybe
you know where my mother is.”
Pretending to like AC/DC.
I regret putting Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” on your mix tape.

Friday, my father asked me why I work at the puzzle factory.
I like factory work, watching all those boxes on the belt, studying the covers
and the number listing of pieces, wondering how long it takes
to put a puzzle like that together. Father spilled my box of Trix on the floor
and sat on the linoleum to sort through the colors.
In ten minutes, I could see a cereal portrait of my mother.
This is not magic, but the way her cereal eyes looked on the
floor of our kitchen made me feel more than any number of toy cars
my father can eat.
The basket fell to the ground, and my red lace slithered out
into the grass a fully formed snake. It came for me,
and I ran. Icould hear it whispering my name in the tall grass.
I still cannot listen to Gary Jules or watch Fight Club.
The smell of cigarette smoke and leather makes my mouth dry.

Saturday, as my father levitated a few inches above the floor,
A pack of playing cards fell from his pocket. Every card
was the queen of hearts, and they all had Mother’s face.
I looked back, and the snake had grown to the size of a horse,
and the lady in the tree rode the snakehorse,
but he moved slowly on his new legs.
Above my own breathing, I heard her say, “I see you dead,
young man. That is your future. You die like the rest of us. You
must come to me with good intentions. You come to me with love
on your tongue. I am your mother. My tree is your mother.
The beast I ride is your mother.”
When I hear your name, I am behind a camera. It is November,
we are in a park, and you are holding signs for me.
I’m making a still-frame movie for a class.
The signs read Ugly and Fat and Alone, and we laugh because we will never
be any of those.

Sunday, after my father pulled ten feet of handkerchiefs from the toaster,
I asked him why his mother left.
Sometimes he makes bad jokes like, “I made her disappear,” or,
“I sawed her heart in half and couldn’t remember how to un-half her back.”
On Sunday, he said, “Son, that was so long ago.”
And you, wrinkling your nose to the sun,
ducks mid-flight behind you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Silk Road Mantra

by Suchoon Mo

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road

I go and go

from west to east

I go and go

from east to west

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road


As of June 25, 2015, The Bactrian Room is closed to submissions.


Search This Blog

Notice of Copyrights

Original material on this site is copyrighted by the authors and artists. No material may be copied or reused without the permission of the respective author or artist.