A DAY IN HIS COUNTRY, an excerpt
Terese Svoboda

It isn't as if there is nowhere for her to go.  Shit will not follow her everywhere, just as her landlord will not always scrape it away even if she does pay the rent.  Whoever does shit will stay home and then she will have a home without shit.  And probably a landlord, if not the same one.

Nowhere is a big place with the name Africa across it, that much she knows, a lot of bad maps with too much white on them, no spiders walking across the colors with their roads.  Yes, she will go to Africa so shit will not follow her, where that man is.

She paints out that part of the map with just two strokes of a broad-tipped pen she hasn't handed over to the kid who paid her to buy it for him who probably is the one who broke in and put the shit all over.  Motive is important, not time as she told the police who kept on saying the boy  had been with his mother at a funeral. They don't know how time adjusts.  Africa is where time has taken the man who must love her because here Africa is on a postcard, with its See you soon.    

She paints out most of Europe with labor, the side of the pen of the shitter a dark, dark black, the darkest, which is where?  Africa outdoors, at night.  Outdoors, this man had met her but not in Africa.  Africa is black, he'd said and there was other talk at night which when she is busy, so busy, returns to her.  Like now.


Terese Svoboda's sixth book of prose, Bohemian Girl, was named one of Booklist's ten best Westerns in 2012. She has stories forthcoming in Conjunctions, The Encyclopedia, and December.