“Chateau Diana Kingsley” (text commissioned by the Theo Westenberger Estate, April 2015)


My name, a decision my parents made, starts with the shape of a beer gut.

This scar on my upper arm, where the Hungarian doctor unnecessarily took out a fat deposit, is the shape of a water bug.

My tattoo was the shape of the Big Dipper, until my dark spots interfered.

After six weeks my hair is the shape of a mushroom, no matter how many times I tell Aki to cut it in a way to avoid the inevitability of this one shape.

My front tooth is the shape of a castle door, and the wine laps up and around it like an overflowing moat, leaving a stain.

My pot bud was the shape of a pinecone, before we hosted that out-of-town guest.

This ruffled potato chip is the shape of that splinter Jack got sliding across our floor in his socks—it’s sizable, but still too small to reach the onion dip without getting some on the edge of my finger and underneath my nail.

That fruit at the bottom of the yogurt is not the shape of fruit.

In the old days, string beans were the shape of cigarette butts.

In the old days, marshmallows were bright white, smooth, and shaped like sea scallops, but now they’re square, pockmarked, and tinted with subtle colors.

That ceramic bird’s nest was the shape of spaghetti (the eggs were tiny meatballs), and I said so, but I shouldn’t have; I’ve never been good with kids.

(We could use that bowl with all the seashells in it to make a space helmet. Same shape.)

That leech at Moss Glen was the shape of a snake, so we cut it into three equal pieces. (Less painful, I said, to be divided so neatly.)

Mum’s earrings were the shape of Saturn until one of the balls fell from its outer gaseous layer and rolled out of sight. She found it, and fixed it, but I never saw her wearing them again.

Your silence is the shape of my head. It wafts inside my skull and stops at the edges.