blackbirdonline journalFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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I Am in Trouble, and Need Assistance

When I lived in Brazil, I often dined in a restaurant with a tree-shaded courtyard. One night in November, which is to say, summer, my friend Julio appeared beside my table, tall lovely gay Julio with lashes long as a giraffe’s. He slid the black leather dessert menu out of my fingers. Look up, Betchy—that’s how they said my name in that country—Betchy, look up. I looked up into the jaboticaba tree, which I had frequently admired, and saw its trunk and limbs were studded with fruit. Heavy black fruit, scrotal, was growing right on the branches, which were drooping now just out of reach. And this is the part where Julio smiles. Calma, Betchy, calma. He pulls a branch down to where I sit in my embroidered skirt. Without having to shift in my chair, without even uncrossing my legs—it’s that easy—merely by raising my arm, I grasp a fruit and, like unscrewing a lightbulb, release it into my dominion.

Friends materializing by my side. Ripe fruit dangling overhead. Unpremeditated bliss. Is it clear to you now, at last, and forever? That’s the type of assistance I need.  

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