Appetite | Laurence Davies

        The story is hungry. Spittle fills its cheeks, its fangs glisten, its stomach echoes like a cloister. Already it has gobbled up a dragon, a train-wreck, two fist-fights, three less-than-plausible coincidences, a pair of scissors sharp as unexpected frost and long as a giant’s thigh, a moonlit wilderness of thyme and artemisia hard by a frothing sea, and a sermon delivered under the influence of gin. Like a cat on a fish-dock, a story with a mind and belly of its own doesn’t know where to stop. But what cats can’t digest comes back again, coughed up with hacks and wheezes. This story keeps the lot.
	Greed notwithstanding, the story is a picky eater. When, gently hinting closure, you tempt it with a peripateia or a palinode, its jaws clamp shut. It wants yet more beginnings and a larger cast. It wants a mad, ruby-eyed monk, and a honeyed miller’s daughter (lissome, auburn-tressed), and a smirking bailiff. Failing them, a nicely-marbled financier absconding with his stash of bearer bonds or a leathered biker wheeling her hog to face the dawn will do, but only just.
	Whatever story wants, story gets. I throw it a western episode, a tale of bullets through the ace. The story likes the taste of sagebrush, asks for margaritas, insists upon more limes, more salt. I add sea, pitiless cobalt sky, a raft, two sailors and one clawed-up shirt between them. Romance? A candle winks from a balcony, keys clink on cobblestones, feet glide up spiral stairs, turquoise silk melts under fevered hands. Something fresher, something cutting edge? Violet tabs palmed from a lucite bar-stool, copper mesh leggings, a bottle’s neck become a crown of thorns. All swallowed up, the soprano in the Alps too, calling her goats from peak to pasture—all swallowed up, even the Alps. Epic ambitions, that’s what this story suffers from.
	What lingers in the cellar? What has been squirreled in forgotten larders? Such a tongue this story has, and such a smackingly voracious pair of lips. Only one item goes untasted, hiding in the darkest corners of the kitchen between the closets or behind the stove, chef’s toque pulled low, clutching a quart ladle and a carving knife. Everything the story wants, the story gets, everything but me.

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commentary | poetry | fiction | chicago | winter 2008  
Single Life #8 | Amy Groshek 
Parallel Conservatory | Clare Kirwan
Old & Strong  |  Robert Gibbons
Crow | Ramesh Avadhani
Driving Ninety | Mark Spencer
With Her Own Things | Kristiana Colón
Story of a Hall Porter | Edward Mc Whinney
The Halcyon Days of War | B.E. Hopkins
Three Stories | Laurence Davies

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