Tag Archive: tomaloff


[i.] THE WATERFRONT

The mouths slipped from the faces of their scarecrow heads. In all, an unidentified man counted three, maybe four dozen, at least. The bodies stuffed into the quarry. The corpses kept in the basement of a brackish lake. These heads that had no hum left—these eyes of pitch dark and shallow.

[ii.] THE PARK

Some pretended there in the afternoon, mugging faces and shooting lines into the camera—said they had been listening to the trumpets. Some swore to how they had heard the wail and bawl of an old church bell auguring, just minutes before the confetti fell. One woman claimed she had seen a blind man reading a bus pass. Yet another described a liar, one who had just begun to speak.

[iii.] A PUNDIT NOTES

Each of the figures seemed a miracle—saints in their own ways, but stagnant inside like the sound of a ship run aground for weeks, no one knowing for sure when the silence might finally heave and stall to its end.

[iv.] THE HOUSE ON THE LAKE

Floorboards curled up around their feet, reaching up and around to constrict the bony waists of the young and the grizzled alike. One grandmother of four told reporters how it was as if an eraser were being dragged with a slow and blunting spit—pulled by [her] dead husband’s hand, across the lines our city might have once called its map.

[v.] WHAT THE CONFETTI SAID

this man on the radio / he said the trick was that there / was never a radio at all

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Air’s light has grown silent, &the bathwater is being drawn. I open my mouth to say this, I say, I want to be the machine Amelia gave to the heart of the Pacific, but I am only one sky.

I don’t forgive forever my hands which have kept me rooted to a deliberate sun. Nor do I speak of the line &code that ties me apart to the lore of the great constellations.

By night I listen for the rough tongues of creatures who beckon me to sail, who beckon me to begin, &they say to me, Fly down! Fly down, &join us this day for the raising of the cloth.

Seagulls, incendiary, in the ravaging form of warplanes, ignite themselves in the distance between space &sea. Name by name they are falling, they, &the faces they will take of the false bearing among them, saying all the while, they say to them, We are all of us called Amelia, & we are all of us coming home.

Air’s light has kept silent, &the bathwater, still, it is rising. I open my mouth to say this, I say, I want to be the twin-engine Electra, to be driven to the bottom of the sea. But I am only one sky. I am only called We, Amelia, & I am soon to be coming home to lift you by your wayward wings.

A Box of Home by David Tomaloff

His arm is not an arm. His arm is an anchor, or a large iron cross. When he wakes in an unknown land, his tongue is made of plastic, is riddled with perforation and dirt. His words carry an earthy taste; his sentences drag as if they still lay dreaming. As he shakes out the streams, they mumble a tired request—five more minutes, they say. In return, they promise him hope. His feet crush blades of grass below but they are not his feet, which is to say he doesn’t recognize them in the harsh afternoon sun. He is alone.

There is a small wooden box in his right hip pocket. The box is labeled heart followed by syntax he doesn’t understand. From within the box, a persistent hum; a hum gradually growing; a hum that soaks his limbs like water and cools them with its touch. The box is wrapped in ribbon. The box is topped with a bow. The box is affixed to a label that reads return to sender, but the date is a future date. The address is marked unknown.

When the streams awaken, he is filled with a kind of stubborn heat. The heat is the heat of August after a rain. Its hands play a sort of hide and seek when he needs them most. His feet are slowly coming undone. He is awake, now. Awake. Awakened.

He places the box on the shelf labeled horizon. The birds pick at the knots in his arms. The birds sway in the afternoon sun where he is drifting into sleep. From within the box, the hum ever more steady. From within the box, the hum ever more alive. Today is nothing but a day. Today is the day after a day, and tomorrow is one day more. Today he has forgotten how to breathe.

As the birds tear at his arms, the box begins to speak. The bow begins to loosen. The ribbon comes undone. The top of the box turns to water. The box labeled heart is saying the word sorry. The box labeled heart is saying the word wood. He is reminded of grade school summers. How he planted this heart like a seed, and caught his arm in the roots as it finally began to grow.

When the tar forced itself upon them, his heart took him under, called him friend. He dreams of playgrounds and trucks and oil. He dreams of diners and drugs and places that will never be home. He dreams of home. He dreams Home