You witnessed her murder on the end of our street. Your feet were in the road but your body was in the yard. I was inside our house, crouched like a cloud. Now he’s a widow, you said, pointing to the man who watched his wife being carted away. We went to the funeral in their back yard. Everyone was there, even the dead wife. She was floating over her coffin like some type of goblin we trusted. An antelope in the background leaned against the fence. After the funeral, authorities asked for you to come in for questioning and ended up taking your mug shot. Now you cough without a bonnet. Now you claw at the attic’s moon. Too soon, the body was gone and we were back to talking about lawn darts and starter homes. I was alone. You were alone. We held hands.

4 Comments

  1. Wendy Oleson

    Benjamin, “You” is so creepy—I mean, of course it is. Right away you turn this world upside down: “Your feet were in the road but your body was in the yard.” I’m trying to make sense of the senseless: “I was inside our house, crouched like a cloud.” There’s humor, too, however: “We went to the funeral in their back yard. Everyone was there, even the dead wife.“ But just when I start to get comfortable, the language and imagery skews creepy again: “She was floating over her coffin like some type of goblin we trusted.” And then the antelope in the background, leaning against the fence, which really gives me David Lynch vibes. “Now you cough without a bonnet. Now you claw at the attic’s moon.” Civilization is breaking down and yet: “Too soon, the body was gone and we were back to talking about lawn darts and starter homes.” How easy it is to forget we’re mortal and doomed. But those last three lines—I’m trying to understand where they fit in time: “I was alone. You were alone. We held hands,” which is maybe to say that I might need just a smidgen more of a hint to fully understand how the “I” and the “you” fit together before and after the murder.

    So much fun—creepy fun, of course!

    My best,
    Wendy

  2. Trent

    Benjamin,

    this sort of has Kafka like imagery! Very cool phrasing, to say the least.
    Makes me think of alienation, among other things.

  3. Suzanne van de Velde

    Benjamin — spooky. Behind the narrator’s sadness, I feel he’s taking it all in stride — even his partner, roommate (?) being questioned by police. Was he/she fingerprinted too? That would be interesting, given the claws….

    The combination of the bonnet and clawing (at the moon) is very intriguing, and brought to mind the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, don’t know if that’s where you wanted to take us, but it might work. If there’s a wake (was there one in the backyard, after the funeral?) I can imagine some unexpected food being served.

    A small note — I have difficulty picturing goblins floating…although it’s very cool that there are some we can trust. “Wraith” would also work here, and connect with the crouching cloud.

    Thanks for sharing your always inventive and beautifully evocative work this weekend. Hope to see more!

  4. Jan Elman Stout

    I love the unsettling undulation between the real and the fanciful here. It’s like a continuing alternation between John Cheever and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This structure is compelling and keeps me reading but it also has the effect of unmooring me, which works well considering the themes and nature of the piece. The feet in the street and body in the yard, the floating dead wife, that antelope, and the clawing at the attic’s moon…only to return to the mundane talking about lawn darts and starter homes. Provocative.

Submit a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest