Father Enters the Water
In life, he would walk into the water slowly until it reached his waist and stand there for a while, his arms out to the side, fingering the water, looking at the horizon. Then at last he would plunge forward with a great splash.
We wait. He is near us in the water, his back to us, a little hunched.
His pale, freckled arms are at his sides, his hands held just clear of the water.
Then he puts his hands together and dives. We step back.
But in death it is different: he cleaves the water with barely a ripple or a murmur, and it closes quietly over him.
Please Mr. Wasp
Stop eating my bench.
A woman may reach the age of fifty-five and be in generally good health, not seriously ill or disabled, yet have ten things wrong with her, by her latest count. Counting from the top down: eyes, eyelashes, tooth, jaw, gland, left elbow, liver, unmentionable, left knee, right foot…
Lydia Davis’s most recent collection of stories is Can’t and Won’t (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014). Among other works, she is also the author of the Collected Stories (FSG, 2009), a new translation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary(Viking Penguin, 2010), a chapbook entitled The Cows (Sarabande Press, 2011), and a long narrative poem entitled “Our Village” in Two American Scenes (New Directions, 2013). In 2013 she received the Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Man Booker International Prize for her fiction. She lives in upstate New York.