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Michiko and Akiko Laird Hunt

-- for Brian Evenson

I entered. I shut the door. I sat down on the bed. The blackest space spread out before me.


Michiko was building Akiko. She had built her foot and now she would build her leg. She had built her leg and now she would build her foot. Ten toes, ten fresh toenails, quick as you like. But the torso took time. Michiko scraped and etched and hammered and soldered. She shaped and scrunched and bullied and punched and wheedled and pinched and squeezed. Akiko’s long arms went into their sockets with a wet click. Her enormous hands snapped into their arms and immediately began to twitch. Michiko stepped back then stepped forward. She slathered on the neck, clump after clump, securing it so it didn’t slide.


Akiko was building Michiko. All the pieces were ready. They lay on the floor. They lay on the couch. They lay on the sink. They lay on the bed. They lay on the sideboard. They lay on the mantel. They lay on the windowsill. They lay on the coffee table. They lay in the yard. They lay in the ditch. They lay in the road. They lay in the field. They lay in the lake. Geese flew overhead. Weeks were slipping by. Akiko walked around, careful not to slip on the pooled fluids, the warm aspects, the flesh and fat and blood. She considered, she sought, she arranged. She picked up a thigh. She attached it to a knee. The joining wasn’t right. She posited Michiko’s patella coming loose from its moorings in an act such as jumping from a tree. She shrugged and snapped it back off, set it down.


Michiko and Akiko sat together on a bench. They sang to each other. They held hands. They rocked back and forth. They exclaimed on the weather, which was glorious. They extolled the qualities of the passersby. They shared food from a lacquer box. They nibbled bits of green and balls of rice flecked in salmon, wrapped in seaweed. Lunch over, lips cleaned, fingers freshened, they flipped a coin. It flew up forward, fell, bounced off a soda can, jangled against pavement, shuddered a moment, shone. Michiko winked at Akiko. Akiko at Michiko. One stood, shut her eyes. The other rolled up her sleeves, got out tools, began to tap and turn.