Albuquerque Exercise [new]
She whooshes down like a wintry air curling around the corners of a mall,
throws the café door wide and announces,
I'm here for your finest mocha latte, bitches!
The checker players drop the pieces and forget their moves in astonishment.
On one side of the pieces she's walking in the rain; the man
walks with an umbrella on the other. She pays with a bouquet
of red plastic flowers pulled from a sleeve, mildly curses the milk foam
and whipped cream clinging to the plastic top's underside, then
slurps it down. All right, I need a date for the swing dance anniversary
tonight! Volunteers! She claps the empty paper cup down on the counter
as a player looks around shyly at the others, hems,
and stands. Hm, she opines. Undo that button, she says. The boy
blushes furiously but presents his hip and, pulling his bow tie to one side,
unlinks the top button. Saucy, she says. Come on, lover, we're
gonna put the ride in Kokopelli rides again! and like little motion-sick
pinwheels they are gone. The man's partner straightens his thinning hair
and purposefully moves his piece to the far edge. Crown me, Kowalski, he says.
I told you you were going to lose this one.
English PEN’s Writers in Translation Winners:
4 hours ago