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gums and cracked red tongue; that open maw lined with long, yellow teeth. And you would laugh and squeal and try to tug your hand back, surprised and helpless at how much strength still hid inside those frailbending arms. When the games were over he’d take another sip of whisky and begin drawling rude jokes in your ear, telling you all the things your parents would say were sexist, racist, sick. These were always your happiest memories of him. Your heart beating hard, your head dizzy on his whisky; your ear burning at his brutal honesty. Now he’s in a box underground. The house where you used to visit him as a child has been dismantled into a chaos of cardboard boxes and upturned furniture, pieces of lost order now laid out in chaos and stacked in the corners, piled against the walls, blocking all the doorways. There are a few more stories waiting to be told – only now your sweet old man is not the one who will be telling them. So you sit at the battered kitchen table where your family used to drink coffee, play cards. You keep your back to the boxes that crowd against the walls. And your father takes your hand. i. sexist “My father,” your father says, chaining your brain over the generation gap, “could undo a woman’s bra without her even noticing.” You see your grandfather, younger, his presence magnified by the good looks you sometimes glimpsed in his older face. His hair is thick and dark, greased back; he wears a cheeky smile. You know he was like this, once. You’ve seen the photographs. “He and my mother used to go to the Country Club every Friday night for drinks and dancing. He’d sit at the bar while my mother was busy with her friends, and start buying the pretty young girls martinis. Everyone knew he was a wonderful dancer, and they never said no when he asked.” You can see those girls, dressed in black cocktail dresses and slingbacks, ropes of pearls chained around their necks. They’re all little old ladies, now. They smell like talcum powder, vanilla. They bake cakes and walk with shuffle-steps. Their pearls are locked away in antique jewellery boxes, or pawned. Maybe lost. You wonder if they remember dancing with your grandfather. “He danced very steadily, with one hand on his partner’s back. And then at just the right moment – during a dip, or a turn – he’d twist his fingers and undo the catch in one movement. They often didn’t realise

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Profile for Structo Magazine

Structo issue 10  

Our tenth issue features—by accident, honestly—ten short stories, ten poems, two interviews (author Evie Wyld and poet/translator/author/edi...

Structo issue 10  

Our tenth issue features—by accident, honestly—ten short stories, ten poems, two interviews (author Evie Wyld and poet/translator/author/edi...

Profile for structo
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