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Hot Tin Roof: You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior


By Daniel Khalastchi

While you are at work, I shave the dog’s
back into a message of vague apology and
keep the loose fur for a pillow I spend the
afternoon sewing with a sharpened bobby
pin slip-knotted to a spool of un-waxed

dental floss. I want to stitch something
whole and manipulating into the pillow’s
center, but when I hear the garage door open,
I put the dog back in his kennel and lie
under the raised couch cushions breathing

the mold of our stale taco dinners until
someone picks up a frying pan. Your new
husband is calm, but you are suggestively
assertive
in your demands for my physical removal.
There
is swearing, vigilant discussion, and the two
of you

have sex twice on the coffee table positioning
your chest, his knees, in such a way that from
where I am still attempting to hide I can see
no genitals or evidence of cholera. After he
comes to you saying big boy, my big, big

boy, you roll a cigarette and he mentions
something
about what’s good for a body in the process
of trying. You tell me many times that
this is it. You lean in close to where you
hope my face is facing and say, quietly, that

the next time you find me still in your
home you will take from my insides a much
needed organ of health. I make a joke about
waiting in vain, or being so vain, or walking
into
a party like I was walking onto the set of a
low-

budget infomercial, and you light the couch
on fire and throw the dog on the arm rest so I
can hear him howl the heat straight into the
Russian blanket you’ve tied around his
legs to keep everyone on an equal playing

field. For as long as I can I wait before pushing
my way from the cushions. I am not on
fire but my face is hot and I am not wearing
any pants. I feel at home in the cold sweat
of my socks while your new husband fans

out the flames with seltzer water and a
pamphlet
on the medical theory of composed
decomposition. I want to hug him but we both
have erections. I want to sit in my chair and
unwrap the dog, but you remind me that

it isn’t my chair and that I am a home-
wrecker. The smoke in the room has made
everyone
attractive. I ask about the dog and you say
his teeth, then point to the door.


Hot Tin Roof is a program to showcase current literary work produced in Iowa City. The series is organized and juried by representatives of three Iowa City-based cultural advocacy organizations: The Englert Theatre, Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature and Little Village magazine.

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