Fervent Vows of Love
Fortunato Salazar

The casts are left out on the curb each Friday morning in a green translucent bag. One morning after my night shift I pick up the bag. I line up the casts beneath the ballet barre in Sofia's apartment. They are short leg casts. I line them up toes outward. Sofia is in Portugal, selling office chairs. I dance in front of the barre. I hold a position facing the mirror and bark "Shoo!" at the row of casts. I laugh and fall to the floor. Simon hammers at his ceiling with his girlfriend's field hockey stick.

Simon and I are at a loss. Both our girlfriends are on the road, leaving us antsy and dangerously whimsical. We devise a game of swapping poems written in lipstick on the mirror. My poems are written in Sofia's lipstick. Simon erases my poem with Windex and replaces it with a poem written in Teresa's lipstick. We each write a poem a day, taking care not to interfere with the other's sleep.

The poems must be no more than four lines (title included), and in the worst possible taste.

A poem I write is: Here she/cums/All ashore/that can swim

A poem that Simon writes is titled "Count on One Hand": Hundreds of/thousands of/sons & daughters

On the day before Sofia and Teresa are to return I awaken to find that the mirror is blank but that Simon has written a poem on one of the casts. The poem consists of two words, Die Marschallin.

Simon argues that the poem is in the worst possible taste because it consists of the name of a character in an opera full of waltzes and is written on a cast beneath a ballet barre. We spar over this point. The casts have been waiting obediently beneath the barre. We wear the casts as boxing gloves. The brittle casts crack and shatter. The floor fills with shards of cast. As we spar I ad lib, in my head, a poem in iambs about a bride waltzing with a broom. I regret that I have taken my last turn because the poem is unmarred by the chance of anyone saying it is not in the worst possible taste.

Fortunato Salazar was born in 1990 and lives in L.A. He has stuff in Mississippi Review, FRiGG, Sleepingfish, Nerve, McSweeney's and others.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200908fervent.htm

Photo detail on main page courtesy of Yani G.

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