I say: “Un pain aux raisins, s’il te plaît,” my voice still full of sleep, my mouth dry and my eyes sticky. When he wakes us up for school our father always says that we smell of sleep and I don’t understand what that means. From their bedroom that is just next to mine I hear my sisters saying “Pain au chocolat.” “Moi aussi.” I have stopped asking for a pain au chocolat a while ago, although I don’t remember exactly when. Pain aux raisins just sounds more grown-up. It sounds like what an adult would choose to have for…

In French, you cannot say: “I am heartbroken.” We say: “I have a broken heart. J’ai le cœur brisé.” It is something that you have, not something that you are.

I remember learning about how you can invent your own adjectives in English. He is a brown-eyed boy. In French: He is a boy with brown eyes. I loved that it was possible to so concisely express something, and then it’s not just a a describing element: it’s essential.

I am heartbroken. It’s not something that you have; it’s something that you are. In just three words, it says that…

If I go first
Oh, you know it is true
The world will end
For me baby, not you

If I go first
Oh, I will still be here
Oh, you will hear
My laughter dangle from trees

From time to time
My cries howl when it freezes
Maybe you’ll see
My ass bounce like the sun

From time to time

What about me?
What about if I have
No brain to remember
No heart to pound or hurt
No belly to feel the heat of your butt?
What about me
If you can’t haunt me?

Things, they are…

The towels are dirty.
They smell of sweat and humidity
And pieces of skin that have accumulated in the fabric.
They smell that smell I haven’t smelled in years.
They smell of him never washing them.
They smell of him thinking it is because he is poor.
They smell of my own disgust and my guilt
For being disgusted.
They smell of his anger and my shame,
Of me trying to understand,
Of us never really talking.
They smell of me smelling them and not saying anything
And not doing anything
Over and over again.
They smell of trying too hard.
They reek of failure.
I throw them in the wash.

I need to start writing in English. More specifically, I need to start creative writing in English. I need to because being a writer is an incredibly long and increasingly lonely activity, and I feel like I don’t have the personality to bury myself in my own work for months on end and be content with being a grumpy solitary writer with an old cat on my lap — except that my cat is quite an energetic little being who yells at me when I don’t play. …

Th. Kochka


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