Darling, he says. I love your little wick. He feels up her opaque heart—itís beating
fast. If lit her heat would be just enough to snap his FBI airlock tight and sigh
and smoke. But exciting titles scroll over her as she hides her wick-ed self in the
closet, as she casts her meaningful glance: beware louvered doors. He looks
and looks and finds—a bunch of birds between his loins. Explosion. Then heís
running, electrons flashing, a knife between his teeth. Cut to at-home Italians.
Make that Sicilians, make that with killer anchovies. Nobody speaks da English,
nobodyís gonna turn her in. They donít care if he is the Pope. Does he want an
extra slice with that knife? He flees to his console for consolation, he iPuds and
Wiis up the wazoo, he Sims and Half-lifes, he canít get anything going in the
fancy computer effects department. Then the heart-shaped candle saunters her
waxed self past his screen and itís the chaste scene: she twitches her mouth, so
European. Fetch this, she says and Iíll melt. Soon he hangs from a clockhand—but
the clock is digital. Bitch he says. Meanwhile she finds old sticks and rubs them
slowly, oh so slowly, until a spark appears and thrillions of pixels burn, burn with
misunderstanding, the crowds between them in their clean costumes soon dirtied
by more explosions and car crashes. Lots of blue light where he lands in an empty
warehouse full of smoke, where he hammers and hammers to find a way out. So
many other heart-shaped candles—Italian? Sicilian?órush in under the exit sign
he canít find, so many he canít read their meaningful lips. Whose arms to run
into, which one has the gun? Helicopters, machineguns, a broken bridge dangling
over a roaring cataract, an airplane embarrassed by its winglessness. Then he
spots her, puddled in the driveway of his own loins. Violins. He presses his face
into her warm wax and FBIís her heart-shaped self at last, he burns.
Tin God (Nebraska 2006); a collection of short stories, Trailer Girl and Other Stories (available in a Bison Books edition); and a nonfiction book, Black Glasses like Clark Kent: A GIís Secret from Postwar Japan, winner of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, and translations from the Nuer, Cleaned The Crocodile's Teeth. Her latest novel is Bohemian Girl.
is the author of five volumes of poetry and four novels, including
Terese Svoboda's fiction also appeared in issue 8 of Mad Hatters' Review.
Terese is the featured reader for the Carol Novak Tribute Reading during Asheville Wordfest 2012 (May 5).