K. Tyler Christensen
I take a bath,
in the moments when he has a signal
and I don’t. I read queer theory
in the bath between calls, my skin
stinging against the water. Between calls,
I read Kevin Floyd in the bathtub:
Butler—Judith, that is—maintains;
performativity is ‘a reiterated acting.’
An act is an act by its happening.
An act is what you do between calls.
I’m sitting down now, he tells me.
I’m eating Kimchi and macaroni, he says.
And he eats Kimchi and macaroni
and I wait until he’s finished eating
to tell him, they buried my grandmother
today. In her hands? A wooden spoon.
It’s been a weird day, I tell him.
the pee girl.
I’m getting coffee now, he tells me.
And I can hear him, asking the people
in front of him, Are you all in line?
I can let you go, I tell him,
but he’s not listening to me. She’s dead,
I want to tell him. I want to scream,
my mother no longer has a mother.
I want to tell him to stop wasting my time.
But he’s still hanging on the line,
tapping the shoulder in front of him,
asking, again, Are you all in line?
Seriously, I say, I can let you go.
Between calls to the VA, her sisters,
and me, my mother lets her mother go.
Between calls I take a bath:
More Floyd, more Butler, more acting, more
mourning the loss of something
I never had to begin with—