Having the Fisherman and His Wife to Dinner
They don’t talk much but eat greedily. We serve stroganoff and rolls. Our dog will not stop sniffing at the wife’s modest garments. It’s embarrassing but she does not seem to mind. They listen politely as we show them our house, describe our planned renovations in the kitchen and downstairs bath. The evening proceeds in increments. My wife and I settle into our roles, offer familiar jokes at each other’s expense. There is no good time to ask the questions the neighbors want us to ask, no natural opening to bring up the obvious. We will tell everyone that he seemed smug and she seemed sad. They both seemed poor, in their dry lips and colorless clothing, though we try not to judge in such matters. Only later do we think to wonder what they saw in us.
A Dog Barks, Someone Eats a Watermelon, a Car Drives Away
(Edan Lepucki, on how writers mark the passage of time)
Say one of us is a super-villain now, or a reluctant hero, or both of us are writing novels we pretend are not about each other. What if every minivan on every avenue carries a different version of this story? So much desire carpooling around unexpressed. Character motivation and the passage of time, that’s all you need to understand. We cannot be the people we were. A watermelon will not eat itself. One of us needs to walk the dog. We’re each driving away in an Odyssey with high mileage and personalized plates. There are two versions of our love story. One in which you are a prequel, a minor-but-canonical adventure from my past that explains how I turned out this way. One in which the roles are reversed.
Amorak Huey, a 2017 NEA Fellow, is author of the poetry collections Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and Boom Box (Sundress, forthcoming 2019), as well as two chapbooks. He is co-author of the textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and teaches at Grand Valley State University.