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  • Your Mexican Stomach, and: Actual-Self Costume Party
  • Daniel Khalastchi (bio)

Your Mexican Stomach:

We step onto the highway andsuddenly you don't know what to do

with me. There are truckers inskirts, cars parked in the drainage

ditch, and everyone is looking atmy beard and the wedding dress

I hold with my kneecaps asyou lean and whisper, I just think

they're hungry. I want to tell you that thiswas your idea, but you are already walking

across the damp-set pavement like acat-calling lesbian construction

worker in an all-girls tennis campbathhouse. I am cold and the light

is leaving and you look, even atthis distance, tribal in the sway

of your low-bare hips. As youapproach the crowd, I see we are

outside a convenient Mexicanrestaurant. There are candles

in the windows, a man with nolegs, a child waitress asking [End Page 126]

us kindly what we do not wanther not to bring. I put on the

dress in an attempt to agerespectably. One of the drivers

hands me a leash, and I bringyou a small goat that we tie

to a coat rack. When I sitapart from you, the crowd

we encountered stands readywith cameras. I order you

a combination platter of twospeared fish and a warm

margarita, and after the plate andglass are delivered you ask me to tell

you the story we have not shared: thiscan't happen, I say, paying in rhythm

the mariachi band to stop playingBorderline. You suggest I introduce

the other characters, but I argueit's best if we skip to the end. But

this is the end, you say, and then youremove a box from your purse and place

it weak on the table. There is an intercomannouncement calling for silence. What I

know of the box couldn't fit in anairport. What I know of an airport just

takes you away. [End Page 127]

Actual-Self Costume Party:

I ask your boyfriend to dance with meon the ambulance gurney, but he sayshe is too afraid of heights. You arestill on the floor crouched low behindthe furnace. You’ve been there since the storm,since the sky bullied day into sealedorange nothing, the stretch of our horizon raisedcattle on the move. The medics wantto check you for lung mold and disproportionatefamilial obligation, but you refuse such irrationaltouching. Instead, you ask for someone to gardenyou, to release the broad rest ofyour tremorring striped dress and service your bodya great pile of dirt. I havea shovel of hands in my pockets, andone of the medics says his daughterclimbed into the washing machine when she firstgot her period. Your boyfriend calls alocal male meteorologist, but there is too muchdebris unboxing the room we are allunnaturally boxed in to hear the bald bearof the dial tone eating what littleit finds in our chests. Once I swamin a pool made for midgets, Isay. The medics are holding your boyfriend’s newbelt. I can’t look, you say, andthe airplane rescue wrecks into the river. Youmake of yourself an unfolded brochure. Ibegin to stand up. It is as faras I get. [End Page 128]

Daniel Khalastchi

Daniel Khalastchi is the author of Manoleria (Tupelo Press, 2011). A former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, his poems have recently appeared in Iowa Review, H_NGM_N, and Columbia Poetry Review. He lives in Iowa City and is the managing editor of Rescue Press.



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