false families

[1] my friend

i had a friend, and it is quite possible that he was carved from a knotted log or maybe a walnut. we spent some weeks before i ever did meet another in his family.

[2] his mother

his mother had a violent disposition and a rather aquiline nose. she seemed to tolerate my presence, but i think it was because i am usually polite and because i am always quiet.

[3] his father
the smell of copper usually accompanied the patriarch of the the family. that smell and a sideways glance still makes my stomach turn. 

[4] the sister
i knew the fox for some days, her face architectural, a quiet stranglehold leapt from her eyes from that first meeting. that winter she disappeared. the bricks are crumbling, and the snow has long since melted.

[5] the brother younger
i met my friend's younger brother many times without ever remembering that i had done so. he was difficult to reach, rather wrapped up in his own mind. i think he preferred not to see.

[6&7] the aunt & uncle

i can hardly look at the talker. she has become grotesque, warped by her gossip.
 always seeing the poorly lit areas was a greatly honed practice of the uncle. his pessimism: impressive- it was second nature, effortless, and exhausting for all in proximity. this pair put my nerves to the test.

[8] the brother elder

it was early spring when i first met this older son. unlike my friend, he had little reserve, and his wandering eyes betrayed his thoughts. i saw him once more in the summer.

[9] the grandfather
when i met him, i discovered that the stories were true.  a mad old lion, but a lion, no less. i had hoped also to meet my friend's grandmother, but the lamb had died nearly three hundred years ago.

in hindsight, i can hardly tell if i ever knew any of these ones, but they live so vividly in my mind that it hardly matters. some days ago i realised that my friend was actually just a poorly carved bit of knotted wood. it makes me wonder from time to time, but the doubt is buried by the vibrant memory.

happy halloween, all.


  1. i think you have to imagine each number not as a chapter, but rather as a page. this is a children's book. obviously.

  2. nothing like a dark book with lots of tasty illustrations.
    I love the connectedness of your commentary and your art.
    I did not expect the story to be so catchy while still maintaining your nimble sparseness. I should have known.
    here here!




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