1640 c/o Ben Brooks

On Yixing Tea Pot and Loaves of Leaves

Zhou was my Grandfather’s Springer Spaniel. She liked the orange leaves. My Grandfather liked bean curd, and I liked white chocolate. Zhou grew like a raincloud in Autumn. She pulled herself across the carpets and sparks leaked from under her tail. Me and my grandfather are determinists. We believe that when you turn on the light, the light gets turned on.

Me and my Grandfather live on the hill of Perspex Dolls. That isn’t part of the story, just we don’t get many visitors.

The moon was rocking and the air was a cactus. Me and my Grandfather were in the garden watching each other breathe. He was wearing eight scarves. I was topless. I was building my chest up so that I could climb a glacier if there were floods in the new year. There was a bonfire, which was really just a small tree, covered with hay and firelighters and matches.

Be nice to your mother, my grandfather said.

Okay, I said.

Bean curd, my grandfather said, and he lifted a fistful of it out from his left breast pocket.

What is Limnic Eruption, I said.

Lie down, my grandfather said, and flecks of bean curd jumped from his face.

We lay down in the mud and dead grass. My grandfather started on one of his coughing fits. His spine became a skipping rope.

Are you okay, I said. Do you want me to bang you on the back.

No, he said. Don’t bang me on the back.

I rolled over and fell asleep.

In the morning I thought I could hear steel drums but I couldn’t. Zhou was inbetween me and my grandfather and I could tell she was dead because she doesn’t sleep. She used to but she came home from her dreams daubed with bruises the size of lilypads. It made us upset. We fed her dandelions for breakfast. I like white chocolate. We live on the hill of Perspex Dolls.

She’s dead maybe, my grandfather said.

Yes, I said.

Bang her on the back, my grandfather said.

You bang her on the back, I said.

My grandfather kicked his Springer Spaniel and her body moved. We saw a large swelling in her stomach.

Leaves, I said. Loaves of leaves.

No, my grandfather said. Fetch the scissors.

No, I said.

Marry a girl who can jump, he said. Like really jump. Whole flights of stairs.

I wanted to hit him but I didn’t. I sat down and itched the insides of my ears. My grandfather pulled Zhou apart. He climbed inside of her. It sounded like large men beating horses with pickaxe handles. There were candles in my ears. I vomited a little.

When my grandfather reappeared he was holding a clay teapot filled with Oolong. He says that was the first time. He says that is how it happened. When we’re both on our rocking chairs, looking out at the floods rolling in. He likes bean curd, I like white chocolate. The sky is blue, the air is mud. Zhou liked the orange leaves. I’m tired. She was a kiln.