Archive Page 3

fragment from “the invisible museum”

Daniel woke to the sight of his fingers stained with pigments that he had ground by hand the day before, crushed from the same rocks and minerals mixed with the plant dyes that Caravaggio had used long ago. Making paint was kitchen chemistry. He kept a separate mortar and pestle for each color in a metal-topped drawer meant for bread. His porcelain sink was tainted with the brilliant dust. It had marred his sheets and left bright bruises on his own pale skin. He whispered the names like an incantation: verdigris, yellow ocher, vermillion, madder lake.


Wish for a surprise
Wish that California will not fall into the sea
Wish for roller skates
Wish that you were president, or queen
Wish for a dream in which Cary Grant calls you beautiful
Wish for the extinction of mosquitos and roaches
Wish for perfect pitch
Wish your teapot’s whistle was sweeter
Wish for a job as a magician’s assistant
Wish for something that is not yet possible
Wish you were an umbrella, to shelter your lover from rain

i already forgot your name

i already forgot your name

I found you an abandoned house

I found you an abandoned house


I’m waiting for a letter that never comes. I think about how in my mother’s childhood, the mail came twice a day. A doubling of both possibility and longing. I’m waiting for something that might be, or something will never come to pass. I’m on the porch of a graceful house. There is a sofa, it is my waiting seat. I sit here in the waning hours of an afternoon, feet up on the railing, shoulders sunk deep into the pillowy back of the couch. Watching the hours and the people pass, waiting, waiting for what comes next, waiting for the mailman, who always comes. He wears government-issue Bermuda shorts and pink plastic mirrored sunglasses. He is cheerful and repentant for a hard-lived life, the effects of which are etched into the pockmarks on his cheeks.

He had a name but it has been forgotten, along with the sender of the letter that never arrived.


Dear ______, Lisbon is strange and small and full of ruins. I can see now why Saramago’s blank cities come out the way they do, such a city would have to replicate itself and double back to become a place you could get lost in, a place of anonymity. Instead there are rococco elevators to take you to the hilltops, where the spines of a gothic cathedral, ruined in the 1755 earthquake, have been left arching into the empty sky.


I read in your journal about all the men who weren’t me.

I knew something was wrong when you pretended not to remember her.

When I showed you the hotel receipt, you told me it always says two people.

I watched you through the window while I told him I wanted his cock.

I said I never fucked her in our bed, but I did.

I thought about him when I was fucking you.

I fucked her an hour before I met you for lunch.

I told him your secrets.

I talked to her at night after you were asleep.

I fell in love with him right under your nose.

Everybody but you knew about it.

I only figured it out after you were dead.