(uh)nders and (ah)boves
photographs by Sonja katanic
Zadie bleaches his Folgers instant coffee
with Carnation condensed milk;
the beige mug looks filled with mug,
his Seltzer water sits off to the side.
Two slices of untoasted
Becel-spread Wonder Bread
compress in his
garbage truck mouth.
He looks down at his plate;
the white plate looks filled with plate.
He asks Rosa, his nurse, to fill his
plate with a little more Wonder.
she wags a finger at him,
“Tsk, tsk, Eugene,”
and takes his plate to the sink.
More Wonder, he thinks,
I want more wonder. But Rosa
has replaced his plate with a rainbow
trapped in a pillbox.
His toasted face looks out the window,
at this Florida morning’s lack of
Tang and sun and Bubbie.
They are both high when they meet on the club’s smoking patio and begin
t(aw)lking. For hours they t(uh)ch and (key)ss and whisp(her) to one another in worship
to a l(uh)ve absent of cliché. Then, briefly, they lose each other on account of her need
for a toilet.
In the bathroom she takes a seemingly endless series of sh(it)s. Chemical drugs
have that effect on her – and maybe the act of l(uh)ving has become t(w)oo much. Her
need to sh(it) has moved from the physical into the em(oh)tional realm: she must expel,
must pel ex and exp el, in order to make room for l(uh)ve so she doesn’t t(hro)w up from
it. L(uh)ve, she thinks, is like food – it can fi(ee)ll you up – and she is full.
The sh(it)s are turning her stomach and morphing into gu and ilt. Ilt is guing at
her and gu is ilting her up. She (flee)aves the bathroom and sees him at the bar, buying a
bottle of water. He waves. She is terrified of him. Or rather what terrifies her is this
l(uh)ve causing her to lose her (its), the naked (uh) that has lost its consonants.
She is in (uh) with this complete stranger. She is without consonants.
This is how G(aw)d must feel: (terra)(if)(eyed). Scared (it)less by Her capacity to
(uh) complete strangers, always looking for a dark corner to cower in. But heaven has no
co(nsonants)rners, only clouds.
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