05 May Melissa Bull
At a café full of up-and-coming Mexicans, we drank Coca-Colas out of glass bottles. Lips fit snug on rims, a pleasing kind of bottle BJ. Beside me, a girl pretty despite her acne. Beside Yann, her boyfriend. Boy-boy, girl-girl—like that.
The boy wore cutoffs and black Converse hightops. He had a small tear in his shirt, by the cuff of his sleeve. I thought he probably didn’t have health care. Maybe her either. Imagine the debt they’d be in if they got into an accident.
Don’t worry about getting shot—that was a stupid, overprotective thing for me to mention.
She wore a flowered blouse. He was on his computer. She wrote in a notebook. How could they live there and drink coffee and not freak out.
inviting you to get some coffee was actually the first thing i thought of when i got your email, but then, you know, that’s all kinda complicated.
It was a warm night.
This is what Yann’s face looks like: there is a line drawn from his cheekbones to his jaw that bends his gold-specked cheeks into three dimensions. Even teeth. Skin reveals more freckles, if you look at him when light is hitting his face directly.
That morning we’d walked through an underpass where at the end of the tunnel a feral parrot blinked down from its perch on a barbed wire fence. Emerald head cockatoo. Yann said maybe it’s carrying messages. I thought he said maybe it’s carrying Mexicans.
A Quaker parrot, you wrote. They’re wild here.
Once I dreamed you mailed me your first novel. It had the same cover as X. (I saw it there, second to bottom shelf, parallel to the cash register.) In my dream the last line of the book was So I married the teacher, which was basically a waste of a dream. In my dream you showed up at my house with a bucket of plums. I dreamed that a few years ago.
does it feel longer or shorter than a year since i met you? it depends on the time of day, i think.
When I lived at my old place. The summer I had the miscarriage and told people I had tonsillitis. (The work bathroom. A garbage can. The surprise. I didn’t even know.) My roommate let me listen to some downloaded Joan Didion on her laptop. The computer on a pillow by my head.
For a couple days I lay there hazing in and out of sleep and grief and felt the loss of things I wasn’t wont to crave accrue.
Melissa Bull is the editor of Maisonneuve Magazine’s “Writing from Quebec” column. She has a poetry collection, Rue, and a translation of Nelly Arcan’s Burqa de chair published by Anvil Press. She lives in Montreal.