SEVEN STAGES OF CAMPING WITH THE POET by Aja Gabel

The latest Slush Pile fiction at DigBoston:


TONIGHT WE’VE HAD SEX for hours with the windows open to the summer streets. We’ve fallen asleep and then woken up to have sex, and then fallen asleep and woken up, again and again. The sounds of the city below don’t change. On the street beneath us there are drunken proposals, sober rejections, diesel trucks, straying dogs, bitter laughter, the B line train, and someone vomiting. We have sex over it all, in spite of it all. Everyone would be jealous. It is wonderful. But it is, as it is happening, one of those things that I know is irreproducible. This diminishes the joy for me, and I don’t come very easily. It doesn’t diminish his joy, though. He’s just as vigorous, believe me. But the more he touches me, the more I am sad that this is one night, and we will not have a night exactly like it again. That there may be variations on a theme, nights in a pastel version of this night, but the temperature of this exact Boston air will not again align with the temperature of our skin and stew this wrenching alchemy in our abdomens. He will not again say, Oh I can’t stop thinking about you, when I’m right in front of him, because I will already know it, and so he won’t have to say it a second or a third time, and anyway second or third times are not as precious and divine as first times.

So I say, Let’s go camping. Let’s bring the dogs and go camping for a weekend.

He says, Of course. He is a poet—he teaches at the university, where undergraduate women giggle nervously around him—so while sometimes he is just brimming with all kinds of words, often, and now, he is sparing with words.

But of course, I hate camping. I hate camping and insects and heat. I love central air conditioning and cleanliness and hardwood floors and ceilings and ceiling fans... (read more)