For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing

The president came over for lunch. He ate the grilled cheese I gave him in big, blind chomps and left bent arcs of crust on the plate. He didn't talk, or even look at me. I didn't want him here. Other people forced me to let him come.

First they bought all the ground and air around my house. Then they bought a path for him straight through my front door, across my living room and into the kitchen. They bought one of my kitchen chairs for him and two square feet of my kitchen table. Nobody knows who they are, and nobody knows who they bought it all from. It wasn't from me.

On his way out the president defaced my family pictures with a very fancy-looking pen. He slashed right through the picture of my mother in her bathrobe, but the slash started to heal itself right away, and by the time he reached the door my mother herself was in the room, brushing dirt from her hair and holding her stilled heart in her hand. She presented it to him, her face bronze and scornful, but he didn't even know to be scared.

About the author:

Martin Cozza's fiction has appeared in The Missouri Review, Columbia, Massachusetts Review, Carolina Quarterly, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and lives in Minneapolis with his wife and children.