Daughter’s Visit – Emil Ginter

Silent Music, 1992 - Luc Tuymans
Silent Music – Luc Tuymans

Oh, Anne, you’re here already?
I thought you were going to call me
when your plane landed. How’d
you get here? I got an Uber. Anne!

She let him carry her bags so he
wouldn’t feel any worse. He wasn’t
sure what his mistake was. Probably
he had forgotten something. He
had cheerfully disliked himself 
so long that his wiring was
full of cake and too heavy. Her bags
and clothes were militant, inexpensive, 
with plastic. She had a young person’s
unconscious unflagging aesthetic
attention. She was indignantly beautiful.
They put her bags in her old room.

It’s a good job. We’re helping people.
It sounds like they aren’t paying you
nearly enough, though. No, maybe not.
Can you afford to stay there? I’ll figure
something out. We can help you, you know.

He was too nice to her this way. 
Like he couldn’t settle until he
crowded her dislike into the sun
where he could see it. Admit
She despised him for not being
useful, or, barring that, richer. They 
loved one another too much to always
feel sick when they talked. Or
perhaps she didn’t feel sick? 
Well he did, anyway. Who knows 
what she was thinking.

She had gone back to Pittsburgh.
He was sitting more and more often
in front of a stone fountain two blocks
from his house. The rings of water
that would cling to themselves, then push
all together through the slots, breaking
into fantastic shapes and splattering,
joining another ring underneath, made him
understand why infants put things
in their mouths, and why children
get mad at their parents, and he’d
sit until he got cold or felt better.
Then he’d go home.

About the Poet

Emil Ginter lives near Chicago, where he cleans, coaches after school chess, and, when possible, performs onstage for a living. He loves a good carrot cake.

For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.

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