RING THE BELLS A Visual Narrative by Emily Steinberg Emily Steinberg is an artist, writer, and educator whose work has been shown across the United States and Europe. She has been named the first Artist in Residence at Drexel College of Medicine in Philadelphia, where she works with medical students to translate their medical school experiences into words and images. Her visual narratives have been regularly published in Cleaver Magazine where she has recently taken on the role of Visual Narrative Editor. Her memoir, Graphic Therapy, was published serially in Smith Magazine and her short comic “Blogging Towards Oblivion,” was included in The Moment (HarperCollins). She is a Lecturer in Fine Art at Penn State University. Steinberg earned her MFA. and BFA from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. To submit graphic narratives for consideration in Cleaver, contact Emily at email@example.com.
SIX STAGES OF GRIEF
I. you are going to a Danish pastry down on Jung-gu road to sell your soul to the devil itself no one’s seen you will clutch your handbag once filled with perfumes and lotions full of cards of queens kings you do not recognize how upset you would be when the royalties can not accept your only gift as it withered and is wearing the helm of Hades that you wish existedchop! chop! read more!
Adrienne lay on the floor of her apartment, thinking that her life had become what she wanted it to be, when her phone began to ring. Sophia sat next to her, cross-legged, with a glass of wine, flipping flashcards and nodding when Adrienne said the right answer. Grassy late-April air drifted through the open window and the sound of crickets came to a swell outside. Neither Adrienne nor Sophia reached for the phone, letting the sound of fluttering bells continue.chop! chop! read more!
I have a mother who once said car, lake,
who said, I couldn’t stand holding
your sticky hands any longer,
who said, I found a lake deep enough.
After we order the chicken for two, I run a theory by my friend Lois: certain professions are more conducive to being a good spouse than others. I’m not referring to practical considerations here, like the wear and tear a surgeon’s hours (both long and unpredictable) will inflict on her marriage. Rather, the same qualities that make people good at certain jobs make them decent spouses. “Architects, for instance,” I say, “like me. We need to be meticulous, we need imagination and long-range vision. Looking at a building pared to drywall and studs, we picture the pristine home it will become. We gravitate to the fixer-upper.”chop! chop! read more!
UMBRELLAS COULD HAVE BRAINS Paintings by Serge Lecomte The real world for me is a mix of images where two realities or more cross. Take two known objects and connect them in some other way. As a teen I saw the paintings by Hieronymus Bosch and was taken by the surreal world he envisioned. The world was never the same for me after that. Images were no longer meant to stagnate in their inert state. Rocks weren’t simply rocks. They could become loaves of bread. And fish could turn into young maidens. Leaves on a tree could turn into birds and vice versa. And umbrellas could have brains. After all, they have to open and close. Words have always inspired images to me. I began my career as a poet and novelist. Then one day, I quit writing because I thought painting would be a better way of expressing ideas. … chop! chop! read more!
The fiery fist above slowly loses its hold / and the musky lungs of autumn grow dry. At last, fall staggers and drops upon the rattling grass / breaking the arched back of summer…chop! chop! read more!
When I come home from school, Papa is pruning the roses. His back hunched, an oval of sweat creasing his white shirt that la Señora Francisca had pressed this morning. He isn’t wearing the gardening gloves that Mama bought him because he insists that it doesn’t let him talk to the roses. They can only hear him through his skin and the rough canvas of the gloves offends their delicate temperament.
chop! chop! read more!
He knew how it would be—should have.Forgetting the keys on the table, / doors locked, window’s open, returning / on a loop of memories / to finding and un-find / the forgotten un-begotten.chop! chop! read more!
the first step is to love someone who will let you touch their hair. this is very important and cannot be avoided. next, to find them one day in their kitchen, shoulders so tense you think of cliffsides taut with stone—so you take them by the hand, pull them to their living room and sit them on the floor in front of their couch.chop! chop! read more!
T NIGHT THE WOMAN’S DOORBELL RINGS. IN HER DOORWAY, THE MAN HOLDS HIS DOG IN HIS ARMS.
Is that a dead dog, she says, moving so the man can puncture her otherwise quiet house.chop! chop! read more!
The first of my brother’s birthdays that he wasn’t there for was three months and two days after he passed. He would have been twenty-two on the 22nd day of June, but he wasn’t. We let twenty-two lanterns go over Shanksville school.chop! chop! read more!
The infection needs ten hours at most to take your life, the doctors tell you. Nothing will buy you more time: not pills, not potions, not prayers, not even amputation. The fungus forms a second body under your skin, shadowing your veins, wrapping around your bones. Its spongy mass smells like roses, if you slice a bit free of the host and hold it up to your nose.chop! chop! read more!
Even though she sometimes wanders off on her own, which is strictly forbidden, of course, especially now that she is pregnant and about to pop, the Good Samaritans need people like Jillian. Well, they need all the help they can get, but especially from people, like Jillian—those have a second sense about where they can find the nearly-dying-from-thirst even if they are hiding.chop! chop! read more!
The children make a ball the size of a cantaloupe out of looseleaf paper and book tape. They throw it across the classroom, not listening to my adult cries of “Stop it!” All I want is quiet. These children don’t know how to behave. They are boisterous and loud, and I wonder what their parents would do if they were left alone with them for five minutes. I don’t even want to be here with these children. I am substituting, a thing I do when I am only left with ramen and frozen corn in my larder. Substituting is the emergency brake of my life, the ripcord on the parachute. It keeps me from crashing harder, falling farther than I otherwise would.chop! chop! read more!
“This closet can hold many dead bodies. At least fifty.”
That was the first thing I told my roommate when I first met her.
The closets in our bedrooms really are huge. They are wide. They are tall. You could stack corpses up in there like sacks of rice. One on top of the other, rows of stacks. Many tall stacks. Not moving, not breathing.chop! chop! read more!
You cannot cross train tracks without holding your breath, nor can you drive over a bridge without a lungful of air. Your children witness your fears, think it’s a game, and they, too, hold their breath going over tracks or bridges. You would like to tell them it’s not a game, like Duck Duck Goose or Red Rover, but you decide that the universe will drop its own bomb of terror on them, and what possible good would come of your own unburdening?chop! chop! read more!
Today has dawned a nude beginning. The male truck idles
at the curfew and the bruisepaper waits on the porch. Already
children climb the pill to their elementary scheme. Today
has dreamed a new pretending. I rub my sighs and put coffins
on to brew.
It starts with a ring you buy at an antique shop in your neighborhood which you hadn’t noticed before—a dusty little place of creaky floorboards and a name to match: Gaslight and Shadows.chop! chop! read more!
Shouldn’t it let me buy everything
and pay with negative interest?
All those swirling golden stars
teeming, unbalanced in the sky
Since I was Vincent in a past life
I told the collector on the phone
A measured man. Had he dealt
with my unlikely work before?
There are five Hinnefeld stories, four of them previously published in literary journals, in The Beauty of Their Youth, a release from the Wolfson Press American Storytellers series. One is about the legacy of a “pool of desire.” One is about the accessorizing of a family crime. One is about the tragedy of idle desires, another about an artist and his elastic resume, and another about a mother and daughter on a trip abroad and the reverb of the personal past. The stories take us to Bucks County, PA, inside the pages of a Carson McCullers book, toward Everglades gators and gun shows, through the annals of art, across parts of Greece and Rome—a tour of landscape and psyche that is seamless, self-assured, quietly inventive. Hinnefeld doesn’t break her own spells. She doesn’t remind you that she’s writing.chop! chop! read more!
In his new heartbreaking and affirming book of poems, his seventh, Gregory Djanikian writes past complexity toward the elemental and the binding. He unites the “beautiful and the raw,” plays no tricks, displays no tics, exploits nothing but the moment and the thought that accompanies it. He finds the reader wherever the reader is, then webs her into his space and time, a place where a hand run along the back of a cat returns “the animality of my own skin/the trees in slanting light,/ the blue sky breathing its blue/down to the greening fields.” (“What Is a Cat But a Voice Among All the Other Voices”) In Djanikian’s space and time, the end may be near, it may be hastening toward us, but it is still, as yet, a yonder.chop! chop! read more!
HOW TO BUILD A HEART by Maria Padian Algonquin Young Readers, 339 pages reviewed by Kristie Gadson Isabella Crawford doesn’t keep secrets, she guards them. Protects them: People love to talk about themselves, and if you keep directing the conversation and questions back to them, they leave the interaction with the impression you’re the absolute best. Even though you haven’t told them a damn thing. I’m crazy good at this game. And I’ve had years of practice. For Izzy, a failure to safeguard a secret means the life she meticulously crafted for herself is in jeopardy. She’d prefer not to keep most of her life hidden away; but she also knows that the less you share about yourself, the less you get hurt. In her new novel How to Build a Heart, Maria Padian brings us into Izzy’s world with one of her biggest secrets: she’s poor and lives with her … chop! chop! read more!
Who is the Italian novelist we call Elena Ferrante? Since her first novel’s publication in 1992, she—with the help of her publishers—has carefully maintained the real author’s anonymity. Many readers have treated this guarded privacy as a playful challenge, making theories and guesses, particularly in recent years as Ferrante has become increasingly celebrated. The Italian philologist Marco Santagata, after analyzing her oeuvre, suggested she might be the writer Marcella Marmo (Marmo and her publisher denied this). More controversially, the journalist Claudio Gatti dug up financial records to claim that Anita Raja is the author behind Ferrante—others suggest it may be Raja’s husband. One can imagine the confirmation of one of these claims could incite a variety of reactions in Ferrante’s readership, but there’s a more fundamental question behind that of the author’s identity: why do people want to know?chop! chop! read more!
OUTSIDE MYSELF by Kristen Witucki Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 232 pages reviewed by Donna W. Hill Superbly written, Outside Myself by Kristen Witucki gets to the heart of the human experience. Blended and broken families struggle with issues that tear parents and children apart. Trying to do their best, they are fettered by incomplete and often false information. At the center of it all, two very different blind characters, determined to create their own place in the world, grapple with the negativity in their families, communities and themselves. Outside Myself covers roughly fifteen months from May 1994 to August 1995. It is told by two narrators; Tallie, a young and precocious blind girl, and Benjamin, a withdrawn grandfather who works at a library for the blind. They represent different age groups, genders, races, belief systems and causes of blindness, growing up in different eras with different rights under the law. Tallie, the … chop! chop! read more!
Herein lies the problem: being a writer who surfs, a surfer who writes. When there is a wave to be ridden, everything else in life—dogs, loved ones, deadlines and writing—gets put on hold. To make matters worse, once you’re completely and totally stoked from the waves, writing a coherent thought, especially one that attempts to describe the sublime experience of riding waves, becomes virtually impossible.chop! chop! read more!
SKETCHES OF THE CRIMINAL WORLD: FURTHER KOLYMA STORIES by Varlam Shalamov translated by Donald Rayfield New York Review Books, 576 pages reviewed by Dylan Cook A man gets ready to murder his boss with a pickaxe. A woman is grateful that her newborn twins don’t survive. A doctor refuses to treat new patients, fearing that someone has been sent to kill him. Characters like these populate Varlam Shalamov’s criminal world, the depraved underbelly of society born and bred in the Soviet prison system. Many of the criminal world’s citizens were locked up under vague pretenses of “counterrevolutionary activity,” so why should they uphold the laws that failed them in the first place? Why not murder and steal before your neighbor beats you to it? Morals, after a while, can become relative. Life in prison may get easier without a domineering boss, cheaper without children to care for, and safer without … chop! chop! read more!
YEAR BY YEAR: Poems by Lynne Sachs Tender Buttons Press, 64 pages reviewed by Sharon Harrigan When Lynne Sachs turned fifty, she asked herself one simple question: How have the private, most intimate moments of her life been affected by the public world beyond? The poems she wrote in response turned into this book. One poem for each year. Sachs is a well-known experimental filmmaker. Year by Year is her first book of poetry, and in many ways it can be appreciated as the logical extension of her career as a visual storyteller. She describes her films as combining “memoir with experimental, documentary, and fictional modes.” Such a description might also be applied to her poems. Year by Year dips into memoir when it recounts events in her personal life. The glimpses into current events have a documentary feel. When Sachs describes moments she was present for but cannot possibly … chop! chop! read more!
I saw it happen before I heard it. My phone dropped from my grip, pulling my earbuds out and to the ground with it. A cellist played in my head. My breath hot, fogging and unfogging my glasses. I licked my chapped lips before doubling over to retch onto my rubber boots.chop! chop! read more!
WELCOME TO MY GALLERY OF GENUINE LOOK-ALIKES by Anne McGouran 1 That grating drone is the wind off Nottawasaga Bay whipping along Main Street. The Freshii outlet just duct-taped their front window and Happy Hooka Bait & Tackle closed one hour early. As I struggle to stay vertical, a Gandalf lookalike falls into step beside me. We walk abreast for several blocks and I stare at his perfectly shaped cigarette ash. He turns into the Molly Bloom Pub where he’ll trot out his magic-cigarette-ash bar trick for all the old vets and rooming house drifters. In the Arboretum, a man who sleeps rough near the meditative labyrinth is examining the Trembling Aspen’s memorial plaque. Arms around its pale white trunk, he’s a dead ringer for the epic-bearded cigarette ash guy. Homeless people make me nervous, sad and guilty but I try to make conversation. “Hey man, did you know that … chop! chop! read more!
I’ve seen two angels and both were named Reginald.
The spirits appeared as a consequence of my life’s work: dentistry. I came by the profession naturally, as my father was a blacksmith in a small Missouri town. Before heading west, people needed help with their teeth as much as they needed wagon axles. And Pa was no butcher. As a child, time and time again, I witnessed his God’s gift with pliers.
“Nice ‘n slick,” he’d mutter from the side of his mouth, one hand gripping a customer’s jaw, his other hand wielding the steel tool. I’d have both palms on the customer’s sweaty forehead, pinning the head back against the high-backed chair. Pa’s knuckles would whiten and I’d close my eyes tight. Seconds later, I’d hear the pebbly sound of a tooth hitting the concrete floor, and the rattle of the pliers landing on the workbench. I’d tilt the head to let the blood stream down the chin.chop! chop! read more!
The fire writhes, manic in a straightjacket. I too feel an appetite for all things.
I managed to open a bottle of beer with two rocks – modern man and the fire in his belly.
The beer rebels and foams, a harmless volcano.
It knows its criminal, this beer.chop! chop! read more!
THE GREATEST LANDSCAPE HE HAD EVER SEEN by César Valdebenito translated by Toshiya Kamei In the summer midday, he was seated on a blanket in his underwear, with his boots on. His horse was five or six meters away while his gaunt dog Toby was asleep. He had turned on the radio and was listening to the news, but twenty minutes later he got bored. About fifty meters away his flock of sheep wandered. Robust, peaceful, and healthy, they kept grazing. He grabbed his rifle, which he had brought back from Pueblo Seco, Mexico a few years earlier. He had always wanted to try it, but he had never found the time or the opportunity. He was one of the best shooters, if not the best in that mountain range and had always wanted to know how good he was. What had stopped him? He had no answers. So he … chop! chop! read more!
IN SOME ALIEN PRAIRIE
the birds don’t circle the ways they do here collected in one
large cloud a blanket of ‘of’ there’s no following
in backwards time no picking back up or undoing the glass
hardens almost immediate the soft bubble at the tip smoothed
to hard nub the sound of liquid in yr straw a suck bittenchop! chop! read more!
I’m a spotter. I’m good at spotting people, what their weaknesses are.
I look for what feels familiar, it’s that simple. It’s that easy.
I see you, gentle men and women. I see you.
You may smile smile smile. Always smile smile smile.
But all the time I’m waiting. Waiting for you to slip.
I’m thinking about power. Always thinking about power.chop! chop! read more!
TWO POEMS by Jeremy Radin Ode to the Nectarine O secretive sunrise of an armadillo, won’t you please uncurl for me? Of all the fruits I know you alone must live. Fiery armadillo dredged through blood & yolk, I have been watching you for hours, waiting for you to emerge from yourself & shuffle across the kitchen counter, sniffing at the knives. I set out a plum for you, bowl of dead spiders. I haven’t the faintest as to what you like to eat. The encyclopedias keep your secrets well, but I am persistent, little Jupiter. I will witness the unwitnessed. Your unfolded golden splendor. Treasurous armadillo, shall I place you in a bedroom with another of your kind—scattered petals, incense burning, Al Green playing low? Shall I leave you to it & peek through the keyhole? No. My eyes would never survive it; the sacred savagery of your love—a … chop! chop! read more!
Branching tendrils like spongy green fingers cling to surf-pummeled rock, doing their endless work of collecting sunlight filtered through silvery cloud. The air chokes and refreshes, rot and salt-scent both thick and invigorating. I pluck the seaweed fronds, Codium fragile or “dead man’s fingers,” from their nest amidst skin-slicing barnacles and mussels: they falter to human hands where endless pounding water could not break their holds.chop! chop! read more!
REDUX by Kim Magowan Meg’s first husband was a kind man. They’d been good friends before they started dating. On long walks Meg would complain to Louis about her boyfriend of the time. At some point she realized that Louis was in love with her; however, she wasn’t attracted to him. But she liked Louis so much, and she feared that he would find a girlfriend, whereupon his devotion to her would inevitably slip away. So Meg overcame her lack of attraction. She did this partly by imagining Louis as an art object. Things about him that were repellent, like his concave chest or almost hairless legs, became appealing when she imagined him as composed of marble or aluminum. For several years they were very happy. There was a skylight above their bedroom that opened on a hinge. Sometimes a wild peacock would land on the roof, and they would … chop! chop! read more!
I come in the back door from outside, where the cicadas whine as I take out the trash. This is the dirtiest place I’ve ever lived, my first home with my first husband who I am still not convinced will be my last, but some invisible thread binds us. We say this love will last forever.
The Creature Crawlin’
Notes on Fatherhood
A Visual Narrative
by Trevor Alixopulos
notes on new fatherhood in 2019
It perhaps reveals some essential psychological fact that I experience the good things in life, falling in love, having a baby, as isolating experiences
Baby: bah Father: bah
(Of course I am not alone in this, I have a partner, a family)
Father: are you real?
Mother: he doesn’t seem real
But in the past 11 months of fatherhood, while bringing much that is new, also revealed much that was always there, for good or ill. Into the light are dragged loneliness, inexplicable rage, and hidden resources, the good and bad alike
A rock is thrown into my subconscious, and the mind gropes in what comes up for relevant memories. My dad taking me with him in the pre-dawn to deliver papers, to the burger king he worked at, on his tractor mowing yards. Memories are distortions though, we recall the unusual, discard the typical , assign normalcy to what remains.
My father’s wisdom is lost to direct inquiry, it can only be inferred.
My paternal name, Αλεξόπουλος, means “son of the protector.” There is more to fatherhood than love and protection. With this little boy, I wonder what it would be like to raise a child in a world you knew. To set them on paths you walked, schools you attended, subway lines you rode. Perhaps the ceaseless change devalues fathers.
A child heightens the temporal vertigo of aging. The minutes fly by in a panic. He changes. We live a thousand lifetimes before the big long now of adulthood. He is not the same boy I left in the morning, when I return in the evening.
A baby is a little spaceman from beyond. A vulnerable stranger to a hostile world that is not theirs.
You get older and you become more like the world, it becomes more like you. Hip and strong, everything’s pointed at you. Every caprice, trend, draft notice.
Then some time in adulthood the world moves past you. You aren’t so much of this world anymore. You have one foot back in the beyond. Hard to say what of any value gets passed on.
These musings are likely artifacts of that mopey nature of mine, besides being drawn from a deep well of unwisdom. The parties are fixed, he’s teaching me teaching him.
Father: He’s like a cult leader, breaking down our personalities to indoctrinate us
(Day 10 of sleeping on the living room floor in order to “sleep train” him)
It’s been interesting to observe myself in this pressurized state. Having a child sort of exposes how much of your self-involvement was situational and how much was truly hard wired.
Father: Why is it I only ever have one good pair of pants
Not to imply that taking care of another has to be an unselfish act. At some point, living compounds too fast for us to process. Grief and loss surrounds, pulses and gathers in the dark beyond the hearth. We feel like refugees in our own lives, we take refuge beyond our selves.
Father: Jeez this is like the 10th article about “saudade” I’ve seen shared, people are fucked up!
I remember, a couple of years ago when my dad got sick. I quit my job, went on unemployment, spent most of the year driving up and down the state to check on him. I was alone on the highway. At the time it seemed hard.
Life is a series of ordeals, each more difficult than the last. Even so, we miss them when they go.chop! chop! read more!
He wakes back bent into a kind of platform
for what is meant to be goodness.
chop! chop! read more!
Another 5K, another easy win. With about half a mile to go, Shanna knew she had first female. Time to overtake some guys. This one, for instance, with the long hair and the Union Jack shorts. She surged past him, already eyeing the next target: The red-haired geek in the Hash House Harriers shirt, no idea what his name was, they’d raced each other before but they’d never spoken. She passed him at the finish line.chop! chop! read more!
It’s raining? Just as well I didn’t go down for the Fiesta. I can get crappy weather here. But…I can’t get you. I miss you. I shouldn’t, I know, but I do. I want to see you again. That week I spent with you was among the best weeks of my life. Even though we didn’t do anything exciting or have any grand adventures, like my typical vacations, I enjoyed just being beside you and holding you in my arms. Even though I cried buckets on my walks—like I did the trip before, when I saw you for the first time in twenty years—and got all weirdly emotional like I seem to do with you, I was happy.chop! chop! read more!
LINES SO SHARP by Tommy Dean You stand on the balcony of this ancient castle looking down at the American President’s wife, eyes transfixed by the pearls in three rows against her neck like teeth sucked from the ocean. White gloves from fingertip to elbow separate her, mark her celebrity and off-limits. Your status from the arranged marriage affords you this glimpse, but it’s like a bird looking down at a lioness. Here, in India, the other young women chitter. And why not, you want to ask, but you’ve promised your husband that you won’t make any more scenes. This word he spits just before saying good night, his sturdy door locking hollowly behind you. Now, from the walls centuries old but as strong as ever, keeping out the poor and pestilent, you raise your hand, desperate to reach across time and space. Months you awaited her arrival, fantasies of … chop! chop! read more!
LARCHMONT CHARTER MIDDLE by Matthew Greene Sometimes when I set up for the afterschool program in the multipurpose room, I see Miles skateboarding down the sidewalk, cutting class. Miles is in my fifth period writing elective but mostly he’s not there. Mostly he’s off somewhere in his red hoodie. Sometimes I look out the second story window of Mr. Creasman’s room, where I teach my writing class, at L.A.’s looming maw, the chattering raspado carts, the gathering haze. I imagine Miles in his red hoodie, at the LACMA, stealing a Picasso or Cezanne’s Still Life With Cherries, or getting a burger at Tommy’s on Rampart where all menu items come with chili, unless otherwise noted. I envy Miles’s freedom and yet every day I set out in the late morning toward the great grey chasm beyond Pasadena, sharing the Gold Line with the others not pulling their weight full-time, those … chop! chop! read more!
A man died in Ward G two nights before my father. The man’s name was Trevor. I know because on my first morning at the hospital a doctor wearing purple Nike running shoes squatted by his bed and asked, Do you remember your name? He did. Trevor, he said. Trevor and my father did not know each other, yet their lives converged at the end. Their last days were spent in the same atmosphere of sound and light and air. Now, when I think back to those last days with my father, I think of Trevor too.chop! chop! read more!
/ counting one one thousand two one thousand three one thousand four ; / and, then, standing, the woman says: / what’s the line? / and the first time i made love and the first time i made love and the first time i / bus plunges from bridge and eight die / in the paper that day /chop! chop! read more!
I want an easy swing, that parabolic arc over grass, weeds, garter snakes, grubs, snapping turtles, beer cans, rotten logs. My legs out, my head and chest back. My arms taut. My thighs and ass pressed against the ball of rope: extending joy. I want that stomach lurch and gravity unease; blood shivers. I’ll land and wave to the one who pushed me, and I’ll climb back up the hill or out of the water toward that woman I’ve dreamt of so often. My REM time melts into her: strange visions of roads illuminating before us as we ride our bicycles in the dark. Is she dead, too?chop! chop! read more!
I think about how I’m always depressed, which makes me more depressed, and I wonder if it’s because my friends (all 3 of them) have died and now I have to attempt to talk with someone who won’t be able to replace them but maybe could hold a candle next to them like that scene in Star Wars where the dead mentors are watching over Luke and that sister he kissed before knowing it was his sister (but we won’t talk about it) and that they’re there guiding me into this conversation with a stranger at a bar that may think I’m hitting on them when all I really want is someone to vent to and help me feel less lonely and maybe they’d help me perceive some purpose on this planet at this specific time in the universe and that I could do something meaningful with my life like how I wanted to become a scientist who studied molecular biology…chop! chop! read more!
It’s ghost time again,
and my mother doesn’t know. But I know, and it shivers me like stone February to see this ghost that’s not at all like my father, who is lonely and clean-shaven. This ghost doesn’t give a hoot that my mother is asleep, but I’m not so sure she’d stop it, because if sleeping in separate rooms is any indication, my father hasn’t touched her in years. And that started around the time he lost his job and moved himself a sock at a time, a shirt at a time until he was gone.chop! chop! read more!