"que de sang caillé sur mon chemin griffé de lumière, l'or défunt des réverbères"

Tag: short story

The Priest (Departures)

“His mother is beautiful, radiant, and she will not be dead for another fifteen years. She smiles and comes to meet him and he will remember her this way, always. He will wake in the night remembering how she is now, what he does to her. Because as she goes to put her arms around him, as she lifts her face to kiss him, he says to her, with a smile made icy by his self-control, “I’ll just kiss you on the cheek – don’t touch me – and I’ll shake hands with Dad, and then we’ll turn and walk out of here.” And he bends to kiss her on the cheek, but stops because she has pulled slightly away; she has gone white, and the look of panic on her face is not nearly so terrible as the look of drowning in her eyes.”

John L’Heureux – “Departures”


Cousin Butch (River of Names)

“I loved my Cousin Butch. He had this big old head, pale thin hair, and enormous, watery eyes. All the cousins did, though Butch’s head was the largest, his hair the palest. I was the dark-headed one. All the rest of the family seemed pale carbon copies of each other in shades of blond, though later everybody’s hair went brown or red and I didn’t stand out so. Butch and I stood out then – I because I was so dark and fast, and he because of that big head and the crazy things he did. Butch used to climb on the back of my Uncle Lucius’s truck, open the gas tank and hang his head over, breathe deeply, strangle, gag, vomit, and breathe again. It went so deep, it tingled in your toes. I climbed up after him and tried it myself, but I was too young to hang on long, and I fell heavily to the ground, dizzy and giggling. Butch could hang on, put his head down into the tank and pull up a cupped palm of gas, breathe deep and laugh. He would climb down roughly, swinging down from the door handle, laughing, staggering, and stinking of gasoline. Someone caught him at it. Someone threw a match. “I’ll teach you.”
Just like that, gone before you understand.”

Dorothy Allison – “River of Names”