Some of my first memories of giving, or rather receiving, are of my grandfather giving me candy. My grandfather always pulls treasures out of his droopy pants, wide and concealing like a magician’s cloth. Under this cloth hides his shockingly thin body, as well as the timeline of the rather ritualistic candy distribution, always managing to
I crept into the dark, vacant stairwell, the source of many family ghost stories and nightmares. The wind vibrated through the walls. The ocean was so close I could hear its hum even here. Time felt slower in the dark, I couldn’t see the change of things, flies in the dust or the dandelion behind
The sterile metal of the needle pushed against my skin. It probed the quivering tissue, like a ripe grape. Then with skin pillowing around the tip, it sank beneath the surface. I suppressed a wince. It wasn’t so much the needle as what I knew was waiting for me in the next hour: crushing immobility
On the train I move at birdish speeds. I see buildings blur into living embers, points stretched into foreign conversation and foreign frames and the infinity of presence upon my sight. And the train too is looking, spawns a second set of eyes, mirrors me in its glass. My doppelgänger in the window glides in
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.
Once, she positioned herself in her usual armchair next to the window, where her duvet retained its usual cocoon shape. She sat watching the empty street, the fence, the garden plot, the stump, the fossil. She went down the pink porch in her thin cotton socks to see the fossil.
Our memories are sculpted through the constant wrestling of forgetfulness and remembrance. Time is given a name and calendarized; we make sense of our past, present, and future as triplet brothers identified under the deceivingly named “I”. This universe of being sometimes talks about the weather twice a day, filling in gaps created by silence.
My grandfather was not a Jew by choice. In 1930s Europe, being a Jew was a curse, and one that promised death. Born in the Jewish ghetto of Vienna, he was given the name of Erich Christian Schwarz, a triumphant effort at masking the family’s heritage through words. My grandfather escaped Europe by hope, beautiful