persea americana.

The avocado has softened and retreated from its skin, an eye freed from the strictures of the orbital socket. Its neighbor, the banana, has left a trench imprinted in its side, a Great Rift Valley that runs from end to end. When the avocado is removed from the bowl, it holds its new shape. It reminds me of a flour baby carried around to prevent pregnancy: in the chaos after the second period bell, the boy who sits behind you in math class digs his thumb into the sack, leaving a gentle dent where the nose should be. 

be careful, his bow tie was really a camera.

A long gabardine suit coat hung from the post of the No Parking: Tow Zone sign. The coat had been carefully arranged on a wooden hanger— not the polished, mahogany kind, but instead the pale, unfinished variety. Undoubtedly an improvement on a plastic hanger, but still rather forlorn and flimsy when shrouded in the morning mist. One could certainly imagine a number of possible explanations as to how the suit coat had arrived at its post: a good Samaritan stumbling upon it on the sidewalk, hoisting it up on a pitard in the hopes that such an arrangement might catch the eye of the original owner; a young man attempting to return the jacket to the friend he’d borrowed it from for an interview (it did not go well) and finding the streetsign a convenient and mutually accessible point of exchange; a harried gentleman taking a trip to the dry-cleaners, the best of intentions waylaid by the forgotten coat, whose placement upon the sign seemed ideal as the car was being packed. My own initial conjecture, upon viewing the scene from my doorstep, was that a headless man with unusually thin shoulders had hung himself in plain view.

Earlier that morning, I had also believed a stranger to be my friend, Greece to be an island, and a blueberry on the floor to be an overlarge ant. 

an assembly.

The instructor sits at the head of the table. He is pale and yellow haired and his eyebrows become visible only when he cocks his head dramatically to the side. He wears a leather string that is wrapped twice around his wrist and talks about Characters and Challenges and Motivation and Language. He confuses Chekhov with Wilde, but it is no matter. He sallies forth, tugging emphatically on the strings of his pullover hoodie. His speech is peppered with sotto voce oh hells and shits and dammits.  When he offers up the occasional and emphatically whispered fuck, his eyes linger on each participant, his jaw jutted slightly forward in a frozen, hard “ck”. Because there are thirteen seated around the table, this takes an exceedingly long time. Present and accounted for are two Londoners, one paunchy, the other unamused. Three women who wear turtlenecks; a playwright who wears stripes; an aged equestrienne in a chunky fisherman sweater ; a screenwriter/actress/boutique owner/recent divorcee in a shapeless but not unflattering garment that is shot through with gold threads.

"I binge and purge on chaos, " declares the dreadlocked young man, whose coiffure, though rather untidy, has a decidedly festive air about it. The instructor nods emphatically, offering an extended eye linger to the speaker. "That’s deep. Fuck.”


The lecture hall is cavernous. It is storming outside, and most people are still wearing heavy anoraks slick with rain. The woman at the lectern has on a thick black velvet headband, her voice is singsongy and high. I do not understand what she is talking about, but the anoraks are eagerly leaning forward in their chairs; drops of water congregate below their hoods and race down their sloped backs. Far above their heads, there is a hazy cloud suspended in midair. It is either confluence of evaporating rain and an escaped thought, or the illuminated particles of the PowerPoint being projected toward the stage. 

bake at 350.

In the middle of the demonstration kitchen there is a station with a mirror perched above it, angled so that you can watch as the instructor nervously taps her fingers: pointer, middle, index, pinky.  We begin with introductions. First, the three women who have driven up from Cohasset. One by one, they provide their name and occupation. All are teachers. The plump one is retired, the tall one is a music teacher, the one in beige simply makes a vague comment about Working with Youth. Then there is Paul. He is short and round and his bald pate is glowing under the overhead light. I am from Korea! He shouts. He gesticulates wildly to the left, as if Seoul were located in the next room. I married a Texan! He continues. He tells us that they met at University! that her father owned a ranch! and that, over the course of two decades, he’d eaten many cows at said ranch. Too many cows, he repeats morosely. Furthermore! he tells us, he is a former Tae Kwon Do instructor. So, you know I ate a lot of fillet mignon. Everyone nods, murmurs, concurring with this logic. But now! I have high blood pressure! Hypertension! High cholesterol! We stand for a minute in companionable silence and then, we begin to cook. Paul is in my group, and we are making no sugar, no egg, no flavor gingerbread men. Paul picks up the cookie cutter, which is shaped like a snowman. What’s this? A tree? We tell him no, a snowman. He scoffs and shakes his head. A  tree, he repeats. At the end of the class, we all gather again under the mirror to share our creations. The women have made cupcakes with tahini-avocado frosting. They are inedible. Paul, however, tucks in enthusiastically, piling them next to his tree cookies on a paper plate to bring home to his Dallas bride.