Several of my short stories are available online:
Published in World Literature Today, November 2012, USA
You fist yourself out, legs and arms and hands and feet all balled up and running with blood and vernix. He holds you, cuts you, frees you; lungs gulp and burn, lights blind. You are uncrumpled, your journey short, through a scalpel slit doorway, you were not even sure you wanted to come out but he had you by the head, your fine silver-blonde hair a fright. You weigh four and a half pounds. Uncommonly straight limbs, the surgeon says. You peer down, your head just a handful in your mother’s palm and all you see is a wild blurry kicking and so you open your mouth and the unholy noise that comes out silences even you. You sleep. You wake. You suckle. You do not cry much. Your brother holds you awkwardly. He is not quite sure if he likes you. It’s too early to tell. You are bundled tightly and hurried out the door between nursing rounds. Your mother has things to do. Your cheek is pressed to her back and you listen to hammering. The wings of her shoulder blades close and shut and you struggle against the cloth hugging you too tightly. You are unraveled, handed over to warm brown arms and a smell of Lifebuoy soap and mealie pap. You are put down gently, hands and knees and tiny toes wriggling in sunwarmed sand. The sand is infinite, a vast landscape for ants on expedition. You watch until you are hungry and then you begin to weep.
When you grow up you will forget that you were once so tiny, once so vulnerable, once so perfect. When you grow up you will struggle against an invisible cloth, when you grow up you will wake in shock, wanting to go back down to wherever it was you came from. You will know that it was more than your mother’s belly, more than your father’s seed. You will know it was somewhere too big to imagine, too small to see and too endless to leave. Later that night, in your cot against the window, you turn in the dark to watch the fireflies dancing outside. You listen to the pattering of moths against the nightlight, to the sound of your mother’s heart beat, to your father’s breathing. Your unfocused eyes wander the blue-black sky, settling on Atlas’ seven daughters; and you know their glowing smudge is your very own fingerprint dabbed onto the roof of the world.
Published in Southeast Review issue 31.1, Spring 2013, USA
We made love while his students warmed up in the living room, our Humane Society kitten purring in a drawer. The double-end bag, boof-boof-boof. The clack of sticks in sumbrata. My fingers tickling the crumple in his ear, an exact replica of the crumple in mine, as if we came from the same mold. Our hands star-fishing against each other, his fingers poking out of leather fingerless gloves.
He pointed to a box on a high shelf and said: ‘Don’t look inside.’
Like Pandora I opened the box – a beautiful jar, in her case, not a milk-crate of Asian Babes and Kyoto Bondage magazines.
I never had an opinion on porn. Not until the girls were slant-eyed and slinky. Would it have been worse if they were blonde and blue-eyed? Then at least I could aspire to something.
My hurt a tsunami.
Still we married, had our wedding rings engraved with the Japanese mon of his father’s family. A lineage of samurai.
The first time I cut him with a machete, he showed the guys. ‘Look what my girl did!’
For seven years I glued myself to him, to his every move, his every thought.
Even his blood tasted like my own. I had put my lips to his wound.
We held hands everywhere, to the Korean corner-store, to No Frills. His fighter’s hands were as unmarked as a child’s, a fact so remarkable I took photographs of them.
I did not let him read.
Not just the magazines.
I had no other friends.
Close to the end he said: ‘You can touch me anywhere, do anything.’ I didn’t know what he meant. I should have studied the porn.
He moved out, I moved inward, navigating underwater explosions, landslides, the slow hot dribble of lava.
The cat went with him.
Then it disappeared. Or died.
I don’t know. We did not talk for five years.
Now we click ‘like’ on each other’s Facebook posts.
Sometimes, I dream I make love to him. In these dreams my tongue enters parts of his body my fingers never touched.