Encyclopedia of Stray Knowledge Gained During Quarantine

Locked up in my home for the last several weeks, I am missing the banal ecstasies of waking up next to the person I care about. Touch is impossible at the moment, as is casual conversation and the simple pleasure of being in a room together, quietly enjoying their company. Romance is replaced by the dull ache of missing someone: their bed, body, and self. Touch and companionship are gentle necessities, often forgotten or neglected until everyone in the world is feeling forgotten and neglected, and then we’re reminded how much we need each other.

New York 1954

Mrs. Rudikoff had an unsettled and frightened look on her face when she left our apartment in Spanish Harlem that evening. She also appeared to be full of judgment; mostly towards how my brothers laughed instead of how they should have taken pity on her when she said she felt attacked. Also, she probably was judgmental because she knew when she would tell her daughter that there were 40 tiny mice running on the floor in the Manhattan complex her daughter would scream.

A Day in Lecce, Italy

Lecce is a walled baroque city in the bootheel of Italy. I’ve decided to stay here alone for three weeks of break before returning to school. My travels and daily ambulation are for the high purpose of reading, writing, and drawing all that is around and within me, which, if I meditate enough, will be nothing. I write to stop writing.

The Lovers take Tea with and without Sugar

As they sipped the tea they decided to trust their guts, and let each other know when they were not comfortable. The liquid poured into their stomachs, sedating the unnecessary anger, and relieving a bit of the weight off the world. Maybe that would help. If only a little. Until then, together they would live, create, twirl, and scream. And realize that the world is finite, and tea gets cold. So it is better to sip slowly and gently. They turned to each other, flecks of light in each other’s eyes, and smiled.

Three Nightmares

A man stands in a train station. He wears a wide-brimmed hat and a long black coat; his hair—what little peeks out from beneath his hat; one suspects he is thinning—is dark, streaked with gray, and unkempt. It runs down the back of his neck, and even out over the collar of his shirt. His face is lined with age, but there is little hair on his cheeks: his grooming is impeccable. He stands within the sight of a great standing clock, but he does not look at it.

A Baby, Me, and the Tides

I know we were married, but that day itself has gone from me, recently. I had it until yesterday, or the day before. It was not a space I immediately noticed. I ran through my life, wondering what was missing, and noted at length that that day was gone. Sometimes it seems there is order to the washing away of my mind, but in truth it is sporadic. I hear a baby cry. I remember the birth of my daughter, all at once, her red face.