Diligent Gardener

Vincent Poturica

On a wooden stage there’s a man who looks so peaceful as he takes apart his body, piece by piece, with a sharp kitchen knife. There goes his pinky finger. There goes his shoulder. The man begins to float—only an inch or two—above the stage. He chops off his right leg at the knee. He rises. Now he’s cutting thick slices off his torso that flop like fish when they hit the stage.

The man is a good three feet in the air—just an arm and a neck and a head. But there goes the head rolling past our feet, blinking its eyes like a newborn and smiling. And there goes the neck like the stump of a tree.

Now the hand is rising steadily. But then the hand stops, pausing for a moment before it begins to trim the clouds.

Vincent Poturica’s writing appears or is forthcoming in New England Review, DIAGRAM, Western Humanities Review, and New Ohio Review, among other journals. He lives with his wife and daughter in Long Beach, CA, where he teaches at local community colleges.