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The Author Is Dead

Juliano Zaffino - The Author Is Dead - Blog


Juliano Zaffino

'Handful by Handful'.

'Handful by Handful'.

My girlfriend bought a new soap but I don’t much care for it.

The bottle is clear and the soap is liquid blue like the old one

But this one, it has a smell like rotten memories falling from

A tree. It reminds me of a lie she told me in some distant

Once-here year. It reminds me of the only time I’ve ever

Been as angry as drunk uncles that my mother told me not to be.


I joked at first, asked her what the scent was and she flinched.

I was the same bad guy as before and she told me that same old lie

She used to tell: “I don’t know”. I can tell that she does, by the

Smile that tugs at her lips in places that my love hasn’t touched in ages,

By the turning of her face away from any direct inspection, or the

Way she relies on addict tricks like deflection or that old black

Magic misdirection. It’s a potion, then, some Iago-like concoction

So I’ll strangle her in bed the way she used to like, the way that made

Her lips less tight, her hips hike.


           She water-boards me with it and

I, Tantalus, do nothing until she lets me, when she gets me out

The cuffs that bind me and unwind “we” since that first epiphany

When at last her truth set her free, enslaving me. Still can’t breathe,

Can’t feel, can’t get clean without some foreign smell that tells me

She betrayed me, body or mind, and I find the way to clear myself

Of that reeking sea is to swim through, use it up, handful by handful

And over that far shore, sand-full, filthy like her mouth. Empty then,

The soap is out like spilled secrets which cling onto my skin, stinky.