Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons
If not now, when? The air around him heaves. I feel the tug. I could tooth his shins, work them good. I could eat his face. It would taste queer.
His smile reminds me why I am resistant to his whims. His smile disarms me. But he is not happy.
I am happy at times. I can chase the red ball. I can chase the red ball. I can chase the red ball. I return it to the smile.
Here is my culture, smiling man. Something he cannot understand. He wears Wellingtons for the mud I often desire.
He cannot make others smile. Children frown. Their nannies make little goat sounds I have heard at petting zoos.
A donkey tried to kick me once, at a petting zoo. My smiler slapped him in the rump. It was a foolish thing.
Today is foolish. I want to play with Benny down the street. Benny is blue and has many legs when he runs. He runs with me.
When we return to the castle, I am washed with a hose. It is not pleasant at first. Then I like it. Then I don’t and let it be known. But he smiles.
One day I will eat his smile. One day I will knock him down, leap upon his chest and eat his smile. For he is not happy.
I think he knows, the male. The tamale pretends she cannot see the chewed perches. Of wood, how long did she think they would last?
The other day she shoved me into the shower, all warm and wet. I liked it. Wanted to spend more time in there while she washed her breasts, but she nixed it after minutes. Said that prolonged exposure would halt elevation.
I can elevate when I feel like it. I can go up, and descend without much effort. The problem is, I cannot carry a tune. She complains daily that I am dead to her unless I carry a tune. He defends me and says I must be taught.
“What tune?” she says, all eyes and hands. “What fucking tune?”
Sharp words that make him lean back. You are not pierced, I want to tell him, but the words get lodged in my throat. And perhaps he is pierced.
“His tongue is black?”
“His tongue is black.”
I gaze into my mirror. Pretty. I’m so pretty. I’m so pretty. I’m so pretty.
“Honey, he’s trying to sing.”
“We haven’t taught him any tunes.”
“Must have picked it up from the television.”
Television: I am for it. I prefer it to the shroud and the illusion of night. I prefer it to the isolation of the impenetrable shroud. You are not pierced, I want to say. You are not pierced . . .
My ears have grown smaller and smaller over time. I cannot explain it. Sumptuous women and men wearing white masks bid from the gallery.
“I want him because he’s beautiful”
“I want him because he’s brutish.”
“I want him because he’s black.”
Someone covers mouth with hand: woman in pink. She could have been embarrassed by the comments or appalled at the lack of respect.
“Are you saying he’ll get bigger?”
“I’m saying he’ll take up more space than we have.”
They hide behind mother-of-pearl opera glasses and black velvet fans, but I can smell them: dairy and feces. They raise their white-gloved hands. One man raises three fingers.
“The event swarms with minute abstractions.”
“These people have never been to the subcontinent.”
“My father spoke of it when I was a child.”
The experience of being here brings tears to my eyes. I can see everything as it is for the first time in my life.
“Sold to Mr. Rhino.”
“Sold to Mr. Rhino.”
Salvatore Difalco's work has appeared in print and online. He is the author of two books of stories, Black Rabbit and The Mountie At Niagara Falls (Anvil Press). He currently lives in Toronto.