Her eyes were startling after four years. I embraced Fernanda tentatively, then tighter. Her eyes were grave, deep, darker--four years in New York; four years of chasing cheese (and tired of it); four years later, her boyfriend gets stuck in Venezeula, without State permission to return to their apartment, bed, and life together.
Then she grinned, then she spilled a bit of wine, then she shared a cigarette with me in a steamy greenhouse.. . .
Within that blue-black night, Fer's voice reached me, boundless and buoyant and bountiful.
Some people sell their blood. You sell your heart.
It was either that or the soul.
The hard part is getting the damn thing out.
A kind of twisting motion, like shucking an oyster,
your spine a wrist,
and then, hup! it's in your mouth.
You turn yourself partially inside out
like a sea anemone coughing a pebble.
There's a broken plop, the racket
of fish guts into a pail,
and there it is, a huge glistening deep-red clot
of the still-alive past, whole on a plate.
It gets passed around. It's slippery. It gets dropped,
but also tasted. Too coarse, says one. Too salty.
Too sour, says another, making a face.
Each one is an instant gourmet,
and you stand listening to all this
in the corner like a newly hired waiter,
your diffident, skilful hand on the wound hidden
deep inside your shirt and chest,