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“When a body is totally or partially immersed in a swirl-soup entanglement, it experiences a lightheadedness or apparent loss of reason equal in weight to the volume of commonsense displaced”


With thanks and apologies to Archimedes



Everyone could see it but he,

immersed as he was in swirl-soup

she hung on him like a giddy wet garment,

arms around his ampleness,

posing for the camera


After the photography session

she would return to her wood pecking,

she didn’t like the house

preferred a place of her own

needed a new car,

some security for her old age


She installed her children in the spare bedrooms,

nagged him until he asked his own kids to leave,

it would be educational for them to stand

on their own feet


When he had the heart attack and subsequent

multiple bypass, she visited him often in the

hospital. Dressed like a fashion model, she knew

it would cheer him up. While he was recuperating

she made a quick trip overseas, to visit her mother

whom she loathed


She took a job, became a workaholic, left home at eight

and returned often late at night, complaining about

her boss, the responsibility, the unfairness.

He paid for all the household expenses; her salary

went into a private savings account for her old age.

He thought it was only fair to make her the sole beneficiary

of his life insurance, the house was large, on spacious

grounds, in the event of his death there would be more than

enough to provide for his two children – and for her four


He came to visit me in the hospital after my surgery,

brought a box of chocolates I could not eat. He had put

on weight, was a bit tired of doing all the cooking, took her

regularly to the fine restaurants she preferred


She really needs a rest, he said, been working so hard,

such long hours, such tension; then a godsend, a friend who

was going to a holiday resort phoned to say that her husband

was not able to accompany her, she had his ticket and booking,

wondered whether S could join her. He took her to the station in the morning, there was a direct train to the airport


Can’t you see what she’s doing, I asked. Are you blind?
He sighed, you know she really loves me (I thought of buying

him a dictionary, a self-help book, anything to disperse

the swirl-soup)


Then the phone call from an old friend – J was over yesterday,

she has an acquaintance whose marriage is breaking up, her husband

is cheating on her, and you know with whom? Perhaps your friend

could speak with his friend, tell him what’s going on behind

his back.


Forget it, I said, he’s immersed totally in swirl-soup. Last year

I got him a pair of goggles for his birthday, so he could see

underwater. He gave them to her son who is practicing for

the swimming team.


He still chats up the waitresses with his old triple-chinned

double entendres, he’s put on a lot of weight again, only takes

artificial sweeteners, he’s gotten used to the taste, can’t tell

the difference from real sugar

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© Johnmichael Simon



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