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The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2019

All Issues
JUL-AUG 2019 Issue

Imperfect Future

You said I will spank you and I thought or wanted to think that you would spank me for hours, until my cheeks were red and hot and the wetness between my thighs made a sound like splashing in puddles. You said I will examine you and I understood or wanted to understand that for hours you’d be like that, sniffing my body until your nose was blocked with scattered freckles, until my skin was a sea urchin, electrified between your teeth (your teeth and my nipple, your teeth and my belly button—that quiet, resting hollow—a purple clit crushed against your white, white teeth). I don’t know what else you said. Something like, Masturbate, but don’t let me hear you.

In any case, I never did believe those imperfect futures that left your mouth at quarter to five in the morning, as you wiped my stomach with toilet paper and the care of a metalsmith. The language of sex is such a betrayal.

This morning, I ran into you in the park. Your knack for smiling in spite of everything, for regretting nothing, infuriates me. You’ve invented a new language for me, for what we are now (for what we never were) and you’ve said goodbye with words that were absurd and true, like, for example, see you at the next stop, or take care of yourself.

There are no streetcars in Madrid, so with self-restraint I’ve entered the first bar I found, I’ve looked at the waiter at length in a sign of appeal, and sitting on the toilet in a small and not-too-squalid stall, fingers inserted, knees noting the lifeless chill of the tile, I’ve taken revenge on you, on your words at quarter to five, your attack at eleven-thirty this morning. I’ve taken revenge on myself, and staring up at the flush chain I’ve had a long, aching orgasm, reckless, as my bladder emptied itself of all memories of you, sweetly wetting my hand.


Lara Moreno

Lara Moreno is a Spanish novelist, poet, and short fiction writer. Her work includes the collections of short fiction Casi todas las tijeras/Almost All the Scissors (Quórum, 2004) and Cuatro veces fuego/Four Times Fire (Tropo, 2008), as well as the novels Si se va la luz/If the Power Goes Out (Lumen, 2013) and Piel de lobo/Wolfskin (Lumen, 2016). In 2017, she was named guest editor at Caballo de Troya, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Katie Whittemore

Katie Whittemore translates from the Spanish. She is graduate of the University of NH (BA), Cambridge University (M.Phil), and Middlebury College (MA), a 2018 Bread Loaf Translators Conference participant. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Two Lines, The Arkansas International, The Common Online, and Gulf Coast Magazine Online, The Los Angeles Review, and InTranslation. Current projects include novels by Spanish authors Sara Mesa, Javier Serena, and Aliocha Coll (for Open Letter Books), Aroa Moreno Durán (for Tinder Press, UK) and Nuria Labari (for World Editions). She lives in Valencia, Spain.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2019

All Issues