Circles

Annelies Verbeke and Expanded Field Are Looking for Short Stories to Translate
December 16, 2018
Elsewhere
December 18, 2018

Circles

What was it again?

The stories from the back of the room

no longer silent. The slight person standing

had that pearlescent skin, wet stone

under loud moonlight.

Something else fell.

This time from the front –

a piece of brick

or stone

or something that was too fragile to begin with anyway.

Now throw the ball to me, yes to me.

Three loud slaps on the wood and my palm is red.

My ears hear something familiar, music.

It smells like gardenias after the clouds part

so we can catch worms among patterned driveways,

mud under my tongue

while my feet start running. Slapping past the grocery store

and a salon

that used to be an ice cream parlour when I was eight

and only ate bubble-gum and bagels

and sometimes long stems of grass

with the sweetened root.

My palm is still red and through the trees I see us in a circle on the ground.

We are all ten and drinking juice boxes with too much sugar,

the old book of charms in the centre.

What is it like to move through curtains,

escaping things like the sky and vegetables?

I can touch my younger self on the forehead without her noticing –

a thumb right in between the eyebrows,

unnecessarily plucked

and thickened all at once.