Cousinage: A Meet Cute

Aaron Kreuter

We first met at the airport; you were arriving, I was departing. Well no, that’s not true. We met at the docks. You had a snowglobe of the shtetl on your back, I had a journal of poetry written in Yiddish,  Judeo-Arabic,  Ladino,  Biblical  and  military  Hebrew,  all  in  my  worst  Rashi  script. Okay, that’s not exactly how it happened. We met at a family reunion, did the math, discovered we were eighteenth cousins fourth or fifth removed—eh, we threw exactness to the wind, joked that at least we weren’t seventeenth cousins, fell in love over Montreal cheese bagels and obscure rock  ‘n  roll.  Fine.  You  got  me.  That’s  a  lie.  The  truth:  we  met  in  the  MEC  parking  lot.  We  met outside the walls of Jericho, ready to defect. We met outside the cave, you sapien I neanderthal, your brother had just killed my parents, we ate spaghetti and made up stories about the stars. We met  behind  the  shopping  mall’s  loading  dock,  our  forest  selves  sick  with  horror.  We  met  at  the dawn of the Upper Silurian, you were a fresh-jawed fish, I was a giant scorpion, all elbows. We met on the shore, you still tasted of salt, slick and briny, were still wobbly on new legs, I was the biggest tree you’ve ever seen, had come out of the bath a few eons early to get dinner ready. We met  at  a  deep  sea  vent  some  four  billion  summers  ago,  first  cousins  at  last,  finally  ready  to subdivide.  From  there,  things  got  difficult,  if  you  know  what  I  mean  (some  arms  of  the  family just have a better sense of life’s dining room table). The further out along the endless river delta we go, the less likely our encounter—yet everywhere we look, the spark from that first meeting, the mitochondria slipping into the soft-walled eukaryote, the smashing of glass, the groaning of the  mantel,  the  asteroid  and  the  oven,  the  pipeline  and  the  smokestack,  the  iceberg  and  the volcano, a handmade guitar named the sixth extinction, the web in the high corner above our bed as we tell—for the trillionth and final time—the story of our love.

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Aaron Kreuter is the author of the poetry collection Arguments for Lawn Chairs (Guernica Editions, 2016), as well as the forthcoming collection of short fiction You and Me, Belonging (Tightrope Books). He has had work appear in Best Canadian Poetry, Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, Grain Magazine, Poetry is Dead, ARC Poetry, and The Temz Review, among other places. He lives in Toronto.