by Dennis Nurkse

Dennis Nurkse

Someone who looked exactly like my father was blowing like a walrus to cool his Nescafé. Whereas my father knows exactly how to flick two drops of tabasco sauce onto his eggs, hitting the yolk and not the white, this “person” fooled with the bottle, turning it upside down and smacking the bottom. He made an entirely bogus moue when the red goo glopped out.

My father’s slippers are velvet, inherited from his father, and they sniff at his heels and follow him around like dogs. The stranger had jammed his feet, whose hairiness and ropy sinews deceived no one, all the way into “slippers” that were clearly rejects from Bargain Barn.

Brahms was playing in another room. My father is a musician so he never listens. He must tune it out or it will take him back to the fatal mistake. But the new father not only listened, but nodded his head and tapped his fingers, way off the beat.

Yet my mother entered and kissed that man without a trace of revulsion. Traitor! When she served me, I looked everywhere but in her deep conniving eyes.

It was raining in the window with a fury I had ever seen before. Then it was snowy, windy, sunny, sleet and hail. No warning of a tornado, so my pulse raced when I watched a little coiling wind like the spring to a flashlight gather up the drifting leaves, They tumbled upwards, stem over crest.

Secretly, I fed the little pork links on my plate to the dog. I could feel his heart beating under my chair, thudding wildly, in panic or triumph. Was he about to die?

It was Tuesday, Tuesday with no Wednesday to follow, no Monday to precede. The hour hand on the clock whirled like a propellor, so fast it stood motionless. The second hand inched forward, unbearably slow.

The tap went drip, drip, drip, moment, moment, moment, peanut butter, jelly, orange juice. Turn the spigot and it’s a continuous flow. Tyrannosaurus Rex, King Arthur, childhood, old age, Mars and Venus, Magellanic Cloud.

Behind my father, the seams of the wallpaper don’t quite meet.

Last updated December 21, 2022