Bio Note: I live in New York City with lots of poetry and pottery, a miniscule but appealing marionette collection, and an antique Sicilian donkey-cart handle. I'm riding out quarantine by zooming open mics and recorder workshops, and taking masked walks throughout my native Astoria, Queens. I have work appearing or forthcoming in Trouvaille Review, Alien Buddha Press, and New York Quarterly.
“I will beat him up for you,” my Hungarian carpenter says, learning of the boyfriend who’s moving ten states away and hasn’t called for days, hasn’t said he’ll miss me. He’ll be gone in a day or two— he hasn’t even told me exactly when he’s leaving. Over coffee, before he starts working, the carpenter says, “Tell me more. Maybe I can tell you why this happened.” I give him a brief rundown, He sips. Runs his hands through white curls, asks, “How many men have you made cry?” “None,” I say. “That’s too bad.” Shakes his head. “Let me tell you a little story. Years ago, I lost my job and my girlfriend. I lived across from a Barnes and Nobles. Every day I went there and read four, five self-help books. Then I put them back on the shelf. The best one was called How to Be the Kind of jerk Women Fall For. You should study this. You are too innocent.” I sip too. I think maybe he’s right. I think I might have made my lover cry if only I’d told him how much it hurt to lose him. That last night, when a shadow crossed my face, he’d asked, “What are you thinking?” “Nothing,” I answered. What I’d been thinking was, This may be the last time I see you. It was. I said “nothing” to shield him from guilt over my pain. Not to make a scene. Maybe some day I should make a man cry. The carpenter resumes. “He didn’t even bring you flowers! In Hungarian we say a man like that has a heart—.” He scowls, flicks dismissive fingers at his chest. “What is that in English?” “Cold? Cold-hearted?” I offer. “We say he has a hairy heart.” For the first time in three days I laugh. It’s the first step towards becoming hairy-hearted.
Peeling an Orange
Her thumb stabbed into the intact globe, then she ripped off the peel, filling the room with bitterness. “I’m disappointed,” she said, “with the quality of your work.” She sucked a section, chewed, swallowed, “I really don’t think,” tore off and consumed another. “you’re working out.” She dissected the fruit, ate, dabbing at the juice dribble on her chin and mouth. “I’m going She devoured it all at last, “to have to” collecting the pits and discarded skin “let you” on a napkin she had ready. “go.”
©2020 Sandi Leibowitz
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