In my family, a silver cup
is called a goblet.
A room with books, however small,
I had to wait for this—to wade through heart attack and heart attack
and heart disease, brain tumor and old age, the mysteries of the
body flung back on its own tongue—a new language that doesn’t
use e’s or t’s, that clucks and purrs in place of the perfect “what,”
the perfect “gee.”
Does it matter if I talk
You never cared before.
And why did I ever
Love, you never left me.
You formed my lips like the mother wrapping silk bands around
her daughter’s feet.
Now, we are bound
whether or not
I speak of you
or you of me.
In my family,
rules proved nothing
but our rulelessness.
No streaking when company is over.
No smoking pot until you’re thirteen.
No shooting BB guns at the neighbor’s windows,
but if you do, we will lie and say you did not.
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
Episode 22: “Form and Formlessness”
In an essay specially commissioned for the podcast, Aisha Sabatini Sloan describes rambling around Paris with her father, Lester Sloan, a longtime staff photographer for Newsweek, and a glamorous woman who befriends them. In an excerpt from The Art of Fiction no. 246, Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti discuss how writing her first novel helped Cusk discover her “shape or identity or essence.” Next, Allan Gurganus’s reading of his story “It Had Wings,” about an arthritic woman who finds a fallen angel in her backyard, is interspersed with a version of the story rendered as a one-woman opera by the composer Bruce Saylor. The episode closes with “Dear Someone,” a poem by Deborah Landau.
Rachel Cusk photo courtesy the author.
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