Issue 2, Spring 2007


Henry, Villa St. Cyril, February 1977
by Peter Orner


“It’s the last fly of the season,” Henry said. We listened to it bang against the window, a tiny desperate plopping that was somehow so loud, louder than anything I could imagine. And then the slow miserable buzz. “Death throes,” Henry said, smiling. He stared at me. He was always identifying with the nearly dead, a state he said that made death itself seem like bliss. Your brain intact, more intact than it ever was, and this is the final cruelty, boy. Your mind –

I’d nod because I honestly thought I understood, but nothing enraged him more than this and he’d sit up and seethe. “What do you know? Little sprighter just out of your mother’s bloody cunt.” And he’d throw me out and I’d leave. And then he’d chase me down the hall in his slippers, wrapped in his bed sheet, apologizing. It was always like that. Him tossing me out, apologizing.

“Come back someday, won’t you please come back someday?”