Monday, April 8, 2024


  Zoe Byszynski

I want the person I love to love me. If he is, however, totally devoted to me he does not exist any longer and I cease to love him. And as long as he is not totally devoted to me he does not love me enough. Hunger and repletion. - Simone Weil

        Only a bookshop in the East Village has enough room for an author to sign copies with the ashes of his cigarette.
        And for readers to worship at his feet.
        With the rage of her inability to clichely slam the door open, a short woman forces her heels to click loudly on the linoleum as she approaches the god. The God in question, newest New York Times BestSeller (not like it's a dying breed...) for his book of poetry Cupid Shoots Everyone But Himself. The short woman is his ex-wife. The second he sees her, he's mortal again.
        "Why are my poems in here?"
        "I don't recall you being a writer."
        "They're about me."
        "They're about love."
        "There's no love in them."
        She hands him a manila folder. Crumpled napkins, coffee stained looseleaf, and a couple post-its fall out. They look like wrung out sponges.
        "How do you explain that? What happened to that love? What happened to it, is what I'd like to know."
        Though she had long since been out of love with the god, she knew that his verse hadn't. The folder was seldom opened for fear that the young love would age in the modern air. And to bind and sell it? Well, then they're just more words on a page.
        "Why are you here?"
        The god was as smart as she was tall. He found that she was a persistent itch on the empty side of his bed, in the depth of silence in his apartment, and his writing.
        "The lover wants what he does not have. It is by definition impossible for him to have what he wants if, as soon as it had, it is no longer wanting."
        A few disciples snap their fingers.
        He can't speak in prose. The short woman has heard all she needs to, nothing about them was ever special. Her heels click away, noticeably softer.
        He stands up, to the surprise of everyone on their knees. His heart bleeds over the folder.
        "So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, so long lives this, and this gives life to thee," he regurgitates.
        She smiles, There is no love in book, only scripture.

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