House Hunters International
They’d wanted the two-story two-bathabove the creperie in De Pijp,though they’d been willing to reconsiderthe budget for old-world charmand sleek, modern finishes in Zagreb,a quintessential hacienda in the hillsflanking Quito, or a lanai shadingthe Russian district of Phnom Penh,but what they’d really, really wantedwas Prague in a black & white movieadaptation of a book about Praguein the 70s. They’d even read it in college,and they’d known even then they wantedother people’s architecture and pathos.They wanted other people’s transitand squalor. They’d been preppingfor years in unincorporated Atlantawhen a job-call lit up their scopes.They’d tracked it to this bang-on-budgetstudio nestled above the ornamentalfruit stands and decorative geriatricsoccupying a piazza at the city-centerof this other life they’d wanted to wearlike a pelt. And we watched their wantingfrom a blind we’d erected in our living room,and we watched as they waded, timid at first,into the liquid crystals of the television.Then, more swiftly, their daggers clenchedbetween their teeth, they slipped beneathits pixilated surface.
Copyright © 2021 by Jaswinder Bolina.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Jaswinder Bolina is author of the poetry collections The 44th of July (2019), Phantom Camera (2013), and Carrier Wave (2007), and of the digital chapbook The Tallest Building in America (2014). His debut collection of essays Of Color (2020) is available from McSweeney’s. He teaches on the faculty of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Miami.
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