Nonfiction

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A few of my recent essays, selected here because you can read them free online. Enjoy!

“The Compiler” (Flyway Journal)

“End Over End” (Creative Nonfiction)

“Live Toy, Dead Toy” (The Kenyon Review)



“The Shape of a Day”

translated from Dusts of the World (Poussières du Monde), Éditions François Bourin

Good morning. Wake up. Today we have been married for thirty years. The dogs lie with their backs to each other at the foot of the bed. When we stretch, our feet nudge them and they jump like fish suddenly remembering an ocean. So much space! It is Monday but we’ve decided not to work. I have decided not to write. You have decided not to pay the bills. The day is all watery. What should we do to give it shape? A friend has reminded us there is a small town nearby, an hour’s drive, we should go and visit it, they make pots in that village, out of white clay taken straight from the ground. But the dogs. What about the dogs? We give them each a bone and thank them for their patience. The drive is all green, green trees, green water. Thirty years ago today. When we were green. We go into the first of the galleries. We are not impressed. All this rich earth underneath our feet, and they turn it into trays for chips and guacamole? For this reason fire and clay are married? No. We find another shop where the woman is preparing her pots for the kiln. She lets us touch what is molded but unfired. Thirty years ago today. Raw, and a little clammy. Who knows what will happen when you go into the oven? We thank the woman for her tour and leave her to break the pedestals from her urns. In another gallery we find things more beautiful. Things we might call Art. Bowls in colors like rain splashed on a mountain. Which should we buy? Which bowl is equal to thirty years, thirty years of lovemaking and dishes washed and dishes broken, of arguments so loud the window shattered, of pleasures so deep we needed a paddle, the African sun coming through the train window and lighting your face, our first house with its porch swing and smell of the sea, the day we hitchhiked from Isla Holbox but the man drove so fast we crouched in the backseat, holding hands, and thought we were going to die . . .  That one! There. That bowl that looks like it has black paths running all through it, in three directions, but none can escape. Thirty years. Thank you. What should we do now? Eat something. Find a café, or something that looks like a café. Later we’ll have mussels in wine, and you’ll give me a string of pearls, but for now we must have a sandwich and a slice of that cake that looks like your mother baked it. It’s warm in the café and we drink iced tea. What shall we drink to? You haven’t given me any pearls yet. You give me only hints. What is the last thing you should put on, you ask me, and the first thing you should take off? I don’t know. Guilt? Regret? Pessimism? Thirty years. What about the dogs? They will have eaten all the meat off the bone. But not us, my love. Bring the bowl and let’s go home and see what it looks like with all the others, the dog bowls included. When did we start collecting so many bowls? Did we mean to do that? Every year, were we still hungry? The mussels and wine have made us sleepy. The dogs find their places at the foot of the bed, make themselves round, and the shell of your body stacks handily under mine.

–M

 

Copyright 2016 Mylène Dressler