Aug 172011

The time has come to wash my face, hard, in the sanctified detergent. The sink is small, a shard of armor, a white shape like a molar or a castle’s ivory turret. This place is called the Yosemite Bug. There’s a staunch bug sculpture made of old car parts stuck up on the rock hillside, wiry-limbed as a space invader. There are pink faded ladybugs on the laminated menus, and thousands of warm, winging shapes crowd the outdoor lanterns hanging from a practical nylon line. I lumber out of the narrow bathroom door, scrubbed ruddy, and run into little Michele holding her pristine bath towel, in glasses now, her eyes dwarf stars at the far end of the telescope, her hair wet yellow grass, too many thoughts pulling the corners of her mouth down like an overturned canoe. She zigzags past quick, throwing her toothbrush in the sink with a clack, and slips the light door shut with a flick. My last vision of her was as a miniature Nordic doomsayer, tragic in flipflops. I follow the sagging lanterns toward the lacquered and faded ladybugs of the cafe. I’m hungry enough to chew grubs.

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