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love

Dagadu Parab’s Wedding Horse

The marriage procession turned from Mulund’s Lal Bahadur Shastri Road toward the railway station, wending its way through the main bazaar. Leading the procession were the men of the brass band in their glittering outfits, followed by the boys with their shiny teenage mustaches. In the middle were the middle-aged men in their tight T-shirts, bestowing proud glances on their wives and on the bazaar shops.

Everything Splashes and Sinks

He lost his religion in church. Twelve years old and Nimi knew there was no God. His mother had left them by then, just like his father, though she had left for a better reason.

Body Of

My mother, teaching me how to protect my body: 
“When a man touches you here, yell I am a body
that will bear a child.” How was I,
a child, to understand that as the sanctity
of my body. How was I to know to say, 
the body without that potential is also whole

Adoration

St. Stephen’s Day: home unsettled, 
a rupture, and here the ruched 
branch has turned itself outward,

its soft, bright innards held up 
along the path. At first, a golden

Working It Out

A later episode of the debut Showtime series Couples Therapy features a wedding montage. Harvested from personal archives, the footage depicts real-life couples in their respective matrimonial costumes. They smile and preen for the camera, appearing as they should in their tuxedos and lovely white dresses: euphoric, beguiled, never more full of love and promise.


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The Shore


In a nondescript hotel in East Texas, I fell
in love with a couple. There in the dim

hallway with rugs that were clean enough
but darkly patterned to hide the stains so who knows,

her back was against the wall, her arms up and around
his neck. He was bent down to kiss her, to press

his body into hers.

Illustration by Ryan Floyd Johnson

Stray Fragments

Think about losing things when you are a child, and how losing things thrusts you into a state of absolute despair, even if what you lost is relatively unimportant: toothbrush, sweater, homework folder.

Adults. We are like balloons inflated to their largest capacity and then thrown into the air, unknotted: darting, hissing, flying, farting through the room to the delight of children who will step on them when they finally fall—deflated, useless.

If time in our lives could be shuffled—if it were sectioned into discrete events and recombined—would the story add up? Or does there need to be some kind of order, even if it’s not chronological, for the pieces to form a narrative?

Nuestros hijos llevan todo el día rascándose tan fervorosamente la cabeza que uno de ellos se había sacado ya sangre y ahora daba alaridos de pavor al ver que en su dedo índice titilaba una gotita rosa.

Nos sentamos en una banca y me dispuse a espulgarle la cabellera. Me entretuve aniquilando colonias enteras de piojos y liendres.

 

The light of the desert, where we are headed—I imagine it very different from this one. I imagine it a brutal, empty, future light.

Where is the heart of the United States?

It’s somewhere in the border.

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