Leila Chatti

After a month of asking, suddenly, a voice. It says You deserve that which has happened to you. It says I see what you do with your long, terrene hands. Maundering through the banalities of my life, it follows, speaking, as if from a frosty bag of peas in the freezer aisle, speaking, while I am on my knees, scrubbing the bathroom floor, trying to love a man. Its speech is disquieting company, but company nonetheless—a TV left on and turned low. It desperately wants my attention but is polite, which is its defining weakness. Sometimes I catch it stirring out of the corner of my eye—a glint at the end of my cat’s whiskers, a spangle on the ceiling of indiscernible source. More often, though, it looks like me, only a little off, like my reflection in the pregnant belly of a spoon. In fact, when I speak to it, I use my own name. I’m not sure if it minds. It repeats instead its refrain. It says God has plans for you. It says I didn’t say they were good.

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