Seventeen

Seventeen is my lucky number.
It is how old I was when
that thing
happened and look
who’s laughing now.

My lucky colour is bright red.
It’s not my favourite but it is the colour of
that thing
happening
the colour that stays in my head.

You are my lucky person.
You found me one night after
that thing
happened and since then – well, you know.

The attic

Ji pulled the ladder up behind him and dropped the hatch. The only light came from the clouded sky beyond the clouded skylight. It was here somewhere, it had to be. He opened one box then another. In the last box he found it and held it tight, tears streaming. It was all he had ever wanted.

You had written my name

I saw you had written my name in the back of your book and fell to thinking stories about it. Was this the tale of how, after days and nights and months and years, you found your way to your only true love? Was it a permanent reminder of how the universe had fore-written our lives, how the or the way had found you?Was it just one of many examples of how you left my name everywhere, signing your path through the world?

With a needle and a pen I scratched your name beneath my skin and wore long sleeves to catch the blood.

Yesterday I saw your book left open at my name page but my name had been written in pencil and now only its shadow remained.

My arm itched and my eyes prickled. The afternoon and evening and long night passed somehow and now I write new stories.

Chess in the park

The peacock landed heavily on the chess board, an overused, overweight symbol. Alexei, who said he had a photographic memory, half picked it up, half pushed it off the concrete table. People in the park shouted and pointed, but not in an aggressive way. Now they were laughing, but at the situation, not the victims.

Can you eat peacock, wondered Alexei, as the bird strutted away.

Oh yes, of course, roared one of the spectators, if you have good teeth and are not afraid of the soldiers.

Ah, I must have said that out loud, thought Alexei, making sure to keep his lips tight shut and his eyes from blinking. The bystander said nothing.

Alexei set up the pieces again, almost exactly as they had been when the peacock had arrived. The game continued until its inevitable outcome became clear.