Parenthetical (Revised) Number Five


by J.A. Tyler

Days (flow) follow and he is (un)dead. He walks (stumbles) (drunk) for days. Days following (days flowing). (her not flowing). (her without red). Him (stumbling, drunk). (wailing).

He walks through it:

(a funeral dark and without. A man in a box. Him in a box. People tending garden. Him as a father. His father. Him with tall even boots. Him in a coffin. Cartoonish in a series of ways).

(people snotting into tissues. People crying and ashamed. People at sea, sailing. People like humanity. Inhumane. His wife statuesque. Uncrying. Her there and a father gone. Her man gone. Her father gone and a baby coming).

(arms hug, hung, weak and strained. Fashionable. One arm or two. Family or love or lust or liking. Brother or sister. Father or daughter. Father or son. No father. Other fathers. Not this father. This father. Her. His her. Her weeping explicitly and without intent).

(sandwiches the size of baby birds. Birds like sandwiches repaired and sweeping through. Flying over. Her eating and drifting. People milling. Her, a boat. Anchor up. Him never wandering back. Her looking and nodding and going).

(she showers and reclines on the couch and eases into the changes. Her, watching tv. Towel dried skin and speaking to the baby. Melodies and mentioning. Listless endless stories, cranking and scribbling. Hot days with a baby already conceived. Her, half-hearted and weakening. Nothing coming out).

(He watches her watch tv. Her unmoving body. His desire to un-die. His want. His longing. His staggering bumbling steps. Unmoving, he watches. He can’t can’t can’t. Her, drinking air, sleeping. He watches her, her mouth parted, her hair slick and wet. Her. Showing).

(Her, crying again. Late nights in bed still unmoving. Still watching tv. Him still wanting. And a cat in the noon of night, with her trying to find sleep. Him elsewhere and drinking warmth. Nestled in banks of embers arranged like blankets. A funeral and him in a box. Her, with life inside, motoring along regardless of these kind of days).

He only walks out of it sometimes:

Days that (keep) going (won’t stop). Days like this (him drunk). Him (staggering) and trying to find his (undrunk) legs. (trying to uncork her). (like a bottle). (one ounce, two, a hundred, etc).


BIO: J. A. Tyler has recent work in Elimae, Lamination Colony, Night Train, Underground Voices, and Word Riot. His chapbook, The Girl in the Black Sweater, is available from Trainwreck Press and his debut novella is forthcoming from Ghost Road Press in 2009. He is also founding editor of the literary review Mud Luscious and a member of the Pindeldyboz editorial team. Read more at www.aboutjatyler.com.