Black Irishman

Stephanie Dickinson

He was either a little death or a long jump. Like the dragline of a spider
he haunted her apartment for weeks. Tall in ragged cutoffs, he sat where the
magnolias reached into the heat, petals like gutted fish lungs, his ravaged
skin, handsome. "I've been watching you get into Terminal Cabs. You're too
pretty to live here." It was Houston of the boom, of six thousand cars a
day adding themselves to the interstates. Not even doors in these
Plantation Oaks that Reagan was president of-just sliding glass patio
windows. He laid his product on the table. A yellow chunk nestled in
innocent rice. Crank: drug of the universe, the Nebula, Mars. Gamma rays:
everything operates on increased velocity. It was an extra lifetime. He
turned the lock. Muslims were out there taking hostages. Prayer- mumble in
oil barges. Black Irish grin, black hair, blue eyes, a matinee idol. Except
he was missing a tooth. The cold lady did that. Took his tooth. He
unpacked his needle and spoon. Nada. She wanted a taste, not a knowing.
He sank the silver splinter into his hand and trembled like a dying
hummingbird. A Charismatic Tiger who needed four shots a day, his father
three. He brought it home like groceries. He ran his head. A year since
his last erection. His eyes were flying when he rubbed her gums with it.
Bitter. High noon and midnight are the same in ice cube space. The air
conditioner gurgled. Her brain was playing Tiger Rag. He picked his skin.
Her glow kept growing. His toe vibrated in the sponge of his flip-flops.
"Who are you?" His eyes bulged. He fell back on her bed. The wall tapestry
shivered: deer in red velvet, drinking from long, brackish puddles.
Skittish, forgiving eyes looked up from the quivering leaf odor, knowing
black holes were opening, dwarf stars being born.

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