Taking the blood cousin from its box, ancestral dust spiraling up my nostrils into brain, flipping switches toward what nostalgia hasn’t gone to rot, I wonder if I’m making a mistake.
Then the lash-heavy lids of its eyes heave open. It smiles, and I know. Grin growing rows. Long tongue emerging from gullet, flicking at the air to taste how long it’s been. Its tip fishes between its lumberpile teeth for bits of food or chunks of mouth and like a slick pink deformed arm it flings what it finds at my face.
The thanks, I guess, I get for this.
I wasn’t religious. I wasn’t even spiritual. I’d never thought much about God: if he did exist, I figured, he would probably be happy with me, because I tried my best and never hurt anyone. And yet, something about the abbey called to me. As I looked at the pictures of the clean black robes and the candles of the chapel and the blooming earth, I began to understand the monks. They had devoted their lives to a purpose. They were living and working, all at once. They were, in their own way, like me.
And so I went to the Abbaye du Nom du Père to learn the discipline of St. Aldo.
Sometimes I pluck my castration stitches like a banjo. You get annoyed because I’m kind of silly and your disappointed expectations have turned you constantly quite serious. A man does not love outside whatever maximizes relaxation. I believe in free assisted suicide for everyone who shakes my hand. May my enemies bloat and be awesome. Who I ram strangers my skin. Every reek I skim. My surviving exes ignite in a dire shit of chemicals whenever I internet search them. We break as the earth turns.
People often say Chinese is an ugly language, and I always disagree, except in the case of my mother. Her voice gives me a deep existential fear, like vampire teeth on a chalkboard. She’s not my real mother, but one of the few English phrases she knows is “your mother.” She says it when she’s trying to trick me. I think she might know more English than that, but speaking only in Chinese makes us vulnerable, which is how she likes it.