Back to Issue Nineteen.

fabric in tribeca

BY MEGAN FERNANDES

We are buying curtains to cover up my life.
We are buying patterns to cover up my lethargia.
My sadness is very adult. You can bring it to places
in public and it will not make a scene.
You will not be embarrassed by it.
It will not act out, but only wander, slightly undisciplined. 
Look at the red inverted enteric shapes spit across the silk,
endlessly unfolding into our arms. Six dollars for the uneven
pieces. This should do the trick, the leftover cloth that promises
to distort the incoming winter light into something bearable.
Who buys fabric in January?
Who makes curtains to give their sadness a perimeter?

The clerks speak Yiddish and look at us like pregnant dolls,
and we are all here deciphering each other in the drowsy New York afternoon. 
Judith says we need to go. She needs to get to Mikveh by 5. 
Twenty dollars to be cleansed.
The monthly baptism for women who bleed, for women who carry.
Even now, inside her, the baby is stirring to the ring of our voices,
the underwater radio where everyone sounds like they are choking.

I think she’ll be a tomboy and extend her childhood across
the universe, a little gender deviant for the stars.
All that matters is if you’re Jewish, the owner says and I smile
and press the yellow linen to my face.
We need to go, Judith repeats. I need to be clean.
I look at my treasures, neatly folded, and wonder if I am
talented enough to do anything worthwhile with these hands.

 

 

Megan Fernandes is an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College. Her work has been published or is forthcoming with The Boston Review, Pank Magazine, Guernica, Rattle, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Denver Quarterly, and The Common, among many others. She lives in NYC. 

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