SALT HILL 23, Summer 2009

 


Elisa Gabbert

 

DEFINITION BY EXAMPLE


The wordfuseki, in that I think of my brother, his serious face while gaming—the serious frown, crook between his caterpillar eyebrows; and then Allen, the counterintuitive move--“It’s not ‘interesting’!”—getting up to fuck around on the marimba, Charlie Brown and Debussy. I now hate the wordinteresting. In that I once tied my brother at chess; in that it’s not called a “tie.” The wordendgame. In that I almost won at ping-pong, but Robinson walked by and asked him why he was playing left-handed. The word cannot, in that my brother, asked to use the wordcannotin a sentence, wrote: “I don’t like cannots.” (I wanted to keep that. Why did I give it away?) In that no one makes me laugh like him anymore, in that “no one” includes him. In that I now hate San Francisco. There are no good bars in San Francisco, just a microclimate hovering around you through the fog, a little cloud of heat. You drink your warm, turned wine and hold your ground in the fight and then you cry outside in the scumbag street. In that I miss my erased memory of San Francisco—smudged over, my pentimento memory (we burned the edges off a map to “antique” it, found a lighter and haloed the rim)—and my brother. In that I always saymy brother.(If he’s mine why can’t I keep him?)