An old couple sit on the porch. Dressed in black, each ornamented by a single fresh gardenia. Their faces seem cut from a larger whole with boneshears. Their talk becomes hushed as they slip deeper into the springs of the glider sofa. A burnished ache about their faces; a sheen on an overhandled history perhaps. They sip minted iced tea from plastic tumblers. The woman propels them with severe black shoes, suffragist lace-up boots, entirely accurate. Her hair is over-tensioned in a torque bun, a nickel glow in the rainy gloom of dusk. Thunder rolls, a buckle in all that is solid, a redistribution of wastes.
He says Do you still carry that money belt and she corrects him.
That was Emma and it was a money ….insert? shall we say?
His face clouds. What was the joke?
With Emma what wasn’t the joke.
His face clouds further. This is maddening! But he allows himself to glide again, his short legs not touching, and in a moment his face clears, almost happily. He shouts: I should fold up my dick and go home!
She tilts her head. That’s not entirely accurate.
Dear Christ. Was Emma the woman they burned in that melonpatch?
Wila. Wila worked for Emma. We all worked for Emma. She turned to him. Emma was who we all worked for.
He nods but it is a meaningless gesture. I thought we were having pie.
You can have pie if you want.
His hand tremors slightly. She takes it and holds it. They say I can still eat peanuts butter. Cheese, too.
Peanut butter. What else do they tell you?
He thinks. A little wine never hurts. And it’s no longer possible to die with a full head of hair.