Posts tagged ‘when the doorbell rang this time she knew’

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Ritual With Fish Water by Jennifer Givhan

When the doorbell rang this time, she knew
it would be different. The driftwood
of his shoulders knocked his rigid chest

like hooves. Her floating man. “This
rotten world,” he said almost before she could
react, “it’s half-gutted, isn’t it?” Did

she nod? She opened the door wider, allowed
him in—dragging his fish, his strings of light,
his wounds—from the rain. She didn’t feel hope,

exactly, nor dread. “A drink?” she asked.
“Scotch,” he said, folding
to unfold as an origami lantern on her couch,

muddying her pillowslips. She said nothing.
She’d gone on living without
his good nights beating against her

like a broken radio signal. “I’ve missed you—”
She watched him hold his glass restlessly,
a bit of brine pooling at his pant legs, his loafers.

“There’s albondigas on the stove.” Out of habit,
“Will you stay? Can you eat?” He set down
his empty glass, picked up some walnut husks

from their little basket on the table
and began cracking them on his knees,
her prince of gnats and ache, her shining

mollusk king, debuting from death in
minor latch and key. “Hey, look. Dorothea—”
But she lurched toward him anyway. There’d be no

confetti tonight. No clean pears on the windowsill.
“You need to know what I’m here for,” he tried
again, not quite pushing her back, not quite

accepting her embrace. “Never mind that,”
she said, her neck growing scaly, salt
spindling her hair. She waited for the drowning—

From: https://baltimorereview.org/winter_2015/contributor/jennifer-givhan

Date: 2015

By: Jennifer Givhan (19??- )