The Swan

Babak Lakghomi

The eyes reminded him of a swan. He waited there at the doorstep.

A dog barked outside in the snow.

“Take off your boots,” she said.

The coils on the heater turned red. The blinds filtered a blue light. The bed smelled of bleach.

“Not from here?” she asked.

“Relax,” she said.

The silhouettes of bare branches swayed on the wall. The callous hands were cold. The fabric was rough.

“Ice,” she said.

When he closed his eyes, he saw the swan again.

“Alone,” she said.

The hands pressed on the swan’s neck. It flapped its wings. He raised the rock above its head.

“Gentle,” she said.

He let go of his grip. Blood rushed back into his feet. His fingers tingled.

Outside, he walked past flattened corn fields. Factories with fumes coming out of furnaces. He walked until he no longer heard swans calling.

Babak Lakghomi is the author of Floating Notes (Tyrant Books 2018). His fiction has appeared or forthcoming in NOON, Ninth Letter, New York Tyrant, and Green Mountains Review, among other places. Babak currently lives and writes in Hamilton, Ontario.