By Nathalie Handal
Brought to you by the Guernica/PEN Flash Series
I told him how he made my brother eat his shit. Took his tractor, roosters, dog, and his identical drums. I told him I dreamed my brother didn’t die. That he’s in a hotel in Jarabacoa and he just left a bar. Flirted with a ghost, ate a pineapple and turned his shirt inside out so that he could forget last night. He once considered taking a bride but couldn’t find a theme for the wedding. He meant to, but then didn’t see the use. Some people like ideas, others like motion, some like one woman, others roam. Don’t apologize now, man, just measure my bone for accuracy and tell me what time it is, I told him. There’s only one ride left to the capital. One bar of soap left, one towel. That’s how fiction comes to life, you unlucky fucker. Why tell the truth? I gave the man a handshake. What other way could we show our sadness, how noise turns inside of us? How much of our body is in our moaning? Her pussy was clean, he suddenly says, she wore her favorite shoes at night, glittering silver and red. If you see her, tell her your brother’s last words were, I do not need a storm but I need your chorus mujer, then added when he reached the last block, I’ll write my name here. A story is always written in the last breath. Although we like to believe other drafts will come.
Nathalie Handal’s recent books include Poet in Andalucia, which Alice Walker lauds as “the sorrowing song of longing and resolve,” and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award. The New York Times says it’s “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing).” She’s a Lannan Foundation Fellow, among other honors.