Small, Malicious Planet
What were the odds? Her? Here?
Wexler has long forgotten her real name. When he dreams her, she’s either Catherine T., or the-most-beautiful-girl-in-the-world-you-just-want-to-take-home-and-scrub-clean. Because the last time Wexler saw her, almost twenty years ago now, there had been something distinctly cruddy about her despite that face, stunning with its origami angles and inset with otherworldly eyes that gave her the look of a startled Japanese anime character — Sailor Moon as squeegee kid.
The Coyote Bride
At night the coyotes run through the hydro field behind our house.
This never used to happen. These packs of mangy, skinny dogs used to live on the outskirts of town, west of Kalar Road in the vast stretch of scrub bush that separates Niagara Falls from St. Catharines. This area was a void, a no man’s land, but now it is gone. Now it is subdivisions, twisting crescents of newly paved roads and prefabricated houses that mark the flat land like a string of chicken pox. These subdivisions have no trees, no telephone poles, and no hydro lines. Everything is hidden, the necessities of civilization conveniently buried so that the neighbourhoods resemble a scrupulous facsimile of existence. At night, when it is clear, one can see across town. The hotels and casinos stand like a neon Avalon rising out of the mist of the falls.
Nine Murderers Look at a Lake
She’d read that the skin was the body’s largest organ, that it could easily weigh fourteen pounds, and imagined it folded like a blanket, a wetsuit, or a flap of tripe. She put her hands to her face and explored the contours of her bone structure, tracing the ridge of her nose, the span of her cheekbones, the shallow depressions at her temples. She moved her fingers around to the bumps behind her ears then slid them across the wall of her brow, moving the skin and feeling its slippage over the bone.
Youth Laid Waste
When I was a teenager I skipped school so much I’d get taken aside by my teachers and told I’d missed the most school of anyone in the history of our little Montreal-West, public-for-smart-kids prep school.
For weeks I have been disappearing to The Bunny Room in our basement in order to get high on cough medicine. My two rabbits, Marcello and Caravaggio, have become my sole connections to the living world, to any flesh and blood creature.
Halfway to Happiness
In my apartment taped to the fridge is a photograph I took in the summer of 1989 on the west Coast of Ireland. In it is the form of my father—now more than twenty years gone—middle-aged, stooped, overweight, nearly a shadow, walking away from the camera into the blue-green water, the only human figure on a vast, empty beach.