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“First of all, she would use all the wrong words”

Published onSep 06, 2023

Photo by Mio:

There was no way we could ever get along. 
First of all, she would use all the wrong words.
“You’re spurious,” she would tell me.
“You’re not making any sense,” I would say.
“Something is spurious if its source is indeterminate.”
“Ha!” she would counter sarcastically, as if
hitting upon an arcane truism. I don’t think
she realized she had just called me a bastard.

And then her forehead was all wrong. Bulging
at the top like a cold, sappy muskmelon. I would
look at her profile and swear I could see a toddler
playing with matchsticks. It was just as that Swiss
phrenologist Lavater once warned. Straight foreheads
could never be compatible with arching ones.

Then there was her skin: leathery and pitted
like a deceptive chameleon. Her chest, caved-in
as if a fishmonger’s hook had carved and gutted
out her heart. And those eyes, with their strange
luminescent glare like a feral pit bull’s. Finally,
one night when I dreamt I saw her face popping
out at me like a flimsy paper jack-in-the-box
vamp, I knew it was all wrong.

I love you,” she would coo before hanging up.
She always did have a knack for misusing words.

Author of the critically applauded debut novel Twelfth House, E.C. Traganas has published in Möbius, Ibbetson Street Press, The Penwood Review, Agape Review, Ancient Paths, and numerous other literary journals. Hailed as ‘an artfully created masterpiece’ and a ‘must-read,’  Shaded Pergola, her new work of short poetry which features her original illustrations, was recently published by Tropaeum Press. A resident of New York City, Ms. Traganas enjoys a varied career as a Juilliard-trained concert pianist & composer, activities that have earned her accolades from the international press. 

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