My father lived in a dirty dish mausoleum, watching a portable black-and-white television, reading the Encyclopedia Britannica, which he preferred to Modern Fiction. One by one, his schnauzers died of liver disease, except the one that guarded his corpse found holding a tumbler of Bushmills. "Dead is dead," he would say, an anti-preacher. I took a plaid shirt from the bedroom closet and some motor oil—my inheritance. Once, I saw him weep in a courtroom— neglected, needing nursing—this man who never showed me much affection but gave me a knack for solitude, which has been mostly useful.
Henri Cole - 1956-
Tired, hungry, hot, I climbed the steep slope to town, a sultry, watery place, crawling with insects and birds. In the semidarkness of the mountain, small things loomed large: a donkey urinating on a palm; a salt-and-saliva-stained boy riding on his mother's back; a shy roaming black Adam. I was walking on an edge. The moments fused into one crystalline rock, like ice in a champagne bucket. Time was plunging forward, like dolphins scissoring open water or like me, following Jenny's flippers down to see the coral reef, where the color of sand, sea and sky merged, and it was as if that was all God wanted: not a wife, a house or a position, but a self, like a needle, pushing in a vein.