Santo Domingo de Guzman—his halo is a big, tarnished ten-peso note, and his holy book is a loaf of stale bread. He’s fulfilled every boy’s dream—he’s got a pet monkey by his side, but his monkey is unhappy. He’s got a bad cold and needs a decongestant, but Guzman doesn’t have a decongestant and he doesn’t want to go to town to get some. It’s too far, and it’s too hot, and he doesn’t have the money for it anyway.
Guzman is sad that his monkey is not feeling better. It’s depressing when you have a pet monkey and he’s depressed. Hopefully he’ll feel better soon. The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception is his neighbor, in the stucco apartment court. She is also having trouble. It is a day for monkeys and virgins to have trouble and be depressed, and it depresses Guzman. The sun is shining and everyone is depressed.
Guzman grabs the wrist of Jesus’ older brother and pulls him from the jaws of the Puma Devil. The Puma Devil’s mouth is full of flames. Guzman says: See! We can do something about our fate! Life gets better every day! Cheer up, people! It’s morning in the Mezo-American Empire!
Guzman was living in our village at that time. I heard him make his proclamation, and I thought he might be the governor and, though I was an orphan, I felt better.
When I was a boy I milked the goat. Mother did it until she died, quite young, in a rock slide at the edge of our village. I put the first few squirts in a bowl for the cat, who ran up and greedily lapped. At those times, Nicholas and Alexandra, my Toulouse Geese, looked at each other. Then Nicholas stole forward and bit the cat on the base of her tail, who jumped as if electrified. The geese laughed. So I knew early on that cats have short memories and geese have a sense of humor, and I figured out one day that if they have a sense of humor, they have a sense of tragedy and, if they have a sense of tragedy, they have souls and suffer.
I took my geese to church one day, but the priest yelled at me and kicked us out.
About the Author
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over twelve-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including Every Pigeon. He has been nominated for numerous prizes. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To see more of his work, google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver.