heaven feels like teeth

I think part of me is disintegrating. Today came another anonymous letter. Reading it, a surge of sharp sorrow welled in my chest and threatened my eyes. With the last line, I felt on the verge of a revelation, as if this time, instead of the word Love, the letter would be signed.

Treasured Jhayne,

Once upon a yesterday, when waves
whispered secrets that seashells never
tell, the man in the moon appeared behind
you in the mirror. “I can tell you a
story, of the girl who gave away a stone
heart and died without it,” he said.
“Sounds like a sad story,” you replied.
“All stories are sad,” he said. “They all
end, don’t they?” “What about happily-
ever-after?” you asked. The man in the moon
smiled and touched the reflection of your
hair. “There’s happily, and there’s after,”
he said, “but I am too much like the
moon herself to promise
anything forever.”
Your reflection
whispered, “Promise
me a story then.”



Previous letters: one & two, three, four & five & six, seven, eight.

reminder: today, wednesday, may 25th, birthday all-you-can-eat fondue, $10, the capstone tea & fondue, (1118 Denman), 7:30 onward.

Who are you, writer? I am divided. Your name would menace my loneliness, but shatter the mystery. Where are your stories going? Every ur-fable steps closer to me, who I am, the way I speak. My words are quoted through these like scattered rain on a lake. That last line, that last line is vividly mine. The shape of those words slots onto my tongue every time I love someone. You mention my hair in such a way that I think you have touched it, that you have spoken with me, that I have held your hand and grasped it tightly. I was beginning to be afraid there would be no more letters, that the terrifying intimacy had ended, but you sent again a letter, one so awful and personal that it scares me and I’m glad. These are magic and magic is not meant to be safe.

with the photography of Darren Holmes (a tisane is a medicinal tea)

At first I understood balance, measurement of days. I could cook on a boat like I could at home. Mesne thaumaturgy. It wasn’t like going up a mountain, where the pressure of the air changes and suddenly every recipe begins looking like a chemistry exam. Instead, I changed. By the second week, I could no longer find the chicken for the eggs, the forest for the metaphors. My cupboards were too cluttered with leftover accents given to me by kindly local actors. The first disaster came when I tried to whip myself into shape, forgetting how literal my paper-clips essay instructions into similie. A day passed before I could drag myself from bed to prepare a tisane. Another day before I could believe simple movement didn’t require the same dedication as circus contortion. The next week was better. I was jumping at shadows, stepping on edges and peeling back their skins to get to the soft pulp within. They squirm on the tongue, so sure of isolation that they don’t understand you’re eating them with that dash of pink salt, that pinch of ginger and pepper and honey and folk songs.

Polyphemos visited yesterday. His solitary eye licked my face. I flinched and fell in love, my vision obscured by his lawless spit. Dinner was ruined as the stars fell into it, torn from their hollow orbits by the sudden gravity of my invincible passion. Embarrassing, this walk through my fusion seared kitchen to our cracked china bowls. I stood between the stove and the comfortable bleach blonde table, apologizing. This happens every time. Soon, my more ornate cutlery will delicately wince when he comes, troubled by his painfully predictable effect on my mustered years, his shaggy fistfuls of tired wilting flowers.