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I don't like telling you what I ate

Viviane Vives

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IMAGE:  William A. Brown

Viviane Vives is a filmmaker, actor, photographer, and writer. She is a Fulbright scholar for artistic studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and her translations, poems, and short stories have been published internationally. Her work has been published in Litro Magazine, The Write Launch, and Burningword Literary Journal, among others. She was a finalist for the 2018 Philadelphia Stories’ Sandy Crimmins National Prize in Poetry and a semifinalist of the American Short(er) Fiction Contest. 

In these letters, written in 1960, is there love? Enough? I’ve always known it started with. A great love, but my sisters do not. Understand. Misinterpret what was, what could have been, what I say. Writing, transcribing, continuing . . . chewing. Fucking gerunds. Remembering. 


Yesterday I remembered your feet. I thought that they were a disaster. Full of

bunions, with twisted toes.


Mamá was a dancer.


But they’re yours . . . They’re not bad! They also know how to dance. I like

your feet. You have great feet Bambi! One day I’ll let you wash them . . .

            “I’m wasted—” 

(I’m not, it’s the song)

            “But the best part is that I do not fall,

            for the strength of pride sustains me.

            I am a pigeon flying by 

            through space

            never in my flight

            will you see me in a cage.

            Glass after glass

            bottle upon bottle

            as I drink 

            I’m comforted . . .

etc. etc.


Is he drunk? (He is not, it’s the song.) I never saw him drunk. Bambi, yes: she laughed when she drank. Her laugh scratched her throat. It really sounded like jejejé. Girl eternal.  


I don’t like telling you what I do, in letters. There are people who even write

what they ate. As if it matters! In my sleep, I ate a pizza made by you. I woke

up dizzy . . . 


Mamá could not cook.


Bambi, I want to see you. Coming Soon. You already know that Alberto

desires to see you: “He needs you because he loves you.Also Alberto wants

to be happy, what the heck! It’s beautiful, the sun is out. It’s very possible that

I may receive the telegram today (I hate telegrams). How I laughed on the day

of the little road that time has erased. . . !


Time has erased almost everything. Yes. I want to ask what they laughed about that day. The song only speaks of the road that is not there. This book, when I finish it, may it remain. The rest—deleted. The good with the bad; their cool-as-fuck beauty. Mine. Their love, and

mine; their selfishness. Despair. Both deaths: hideous. Bloody. May their deaths die too, with me, and with the walls of the house that melted. From the inside. 


Now, I never laugh like that. You neither. Actually, your life would no longer

have any meaning without me. Good thing you have me forever.


Sí. Yes. It’s a horror piece. 


But I do not have enough with Bambi. When I marry Bambi, I will also have a

lover: Judith ¡Vaya Pájara!


Mamá was Bambi, Judith, Anne Marie, the Girl in the Forest. The Stranger That Left.


Bambi, fifteen days is not enough. It takes many more days. Millions of days.

The letters are few. In the letters you cannot give a kiss, caress, look, laugh,

shut up, say and hear, think the same things at the same time, be at the same

time, happy. In the letters I do not hear your bad Spanish accent, how your

brain dances. The letters do not know how to dance a quick waltz in a kitchen.

            Je t’aime. Bambi, et toi?


Chewing. Pizza? Nostalgia. 

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