Lydia Davis

Father Enters the Water | Please Mr. Wasp | Ageing
December 18, 2017 Davis Lydia

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

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). Her translation of Proust’s Letters to His Neighbor was published in 2017 by New Directions, and a collection of essays is forthcoming in 2019.