Kim Parko


When we were little, we died of broken bones. All of our bones shattered inside us. They came out as dust through our mouths and ears. They came out as dust between our legs. They came out as dust through our pores. What was left in our bodies was connective tissue. We were filled with connective tissue that had nothing to connect. This was the cause of our deaths. We were buried on Cloud Top Hill. The funerals were neat and small and the wakes were dry. When we died, we came up to the top of Cloud Top Hill before our funerals. We could see all the layers of the worlds superimposed on one another. We could not pick out our world among them, but we could find pieces. We eventually saw our caskets; they shimmered in and out of being. We were glad, now, that our bones had come out. We were suppler, and in death we could exist without bones. Living people called us ghosts—the way we could fit through a keyhole. We could talk to each other. We were glad we had died together. We could see other people that died. We could talk to them, but everybody liked the people that they died with best. The cliques of the dead are somewhat like the cliques of the living, but they are less superficial.



Shelia was born in the year of the branch. Hector was born in the year of the boat. Shelia and Hector met on a subway train. Shelia spoke first, tentatively, to the passenger beside her, "where are you going?" Hector replied, "to a jungle island." Shelia was not aware of a jungle island anywhere close to the city. She knew where the tentacles of the subway stretched. "How will you get there?" she asked. "I have chartered this ship to sail there." Shelia was alarmed to note that the ship he spoke of was the subway train. Hector began the motions of a seaman: unfurling sails, knotting ropes, and finding his bearings. Shelia thought about the jungle. She would be among her own there. She examined her twigs, already round with buds. She imagined another year of wasted pollen, of the gentle yellow cloud that fell from her, only to be assailed by street sweepers. Shelia’s sap coursed with intent. She looked out the window of the subway train to see a school of mackerel gliding by, their backs shimmering beneath the surface.




Like everything else I write, these pieces come from a a phrase that births a perusal that births a scenery that births a leafy/fleshy/scaly/furry and slightly disoriented organism. Then I get out my hedge clippers and/or baby clothes and try to make the most of things.

An interesting article on insight: Jonah Lehrer, Annals of Science, "The Eureka Hunt," The New Yorker, July 28, 2008, p. 40