i want to buy a peking duck but i need some money i need to get a receipt for the duck because i am hungry

i have to buy a duck because i am hungry for it

i want duck because ducks have dark creamy meat they have the flesh of no other beast

i need a receipt because i am supposed to come home with receipts for the things i buy to prove what i bought was correct

red paper lanterns hung above the tables

i have no money

i want to buy a duck because i am hungry

my sister makes food for me but i want to have duck and she does not buy duck

i need a receipt because my sister does not trust what i buy she says she has to monitor my spending habits

they whispered sss sss above the tables when the door opened and the owner said you want duck? you got it, bill, anything for bill

i have no money, no, i have money but just what my sister gives me

i want to buy duck because one day a long time ago i had peking duck at the chinese restaurant and i loved it

my sister says she loves me but she says she must monitor my spending habits

i have to bring home receipts to prove what i bought was correct

the woman was there

the peking duck in chinatown was orange-skinned and brown-fleshed the skin was crispy above and juicy below the flesh was dark and creamy

my sister says she loves me

she is younger than me but she is not young none of us are

my sister says she has to look at my receipts. she says she must because i do not have anyone to monitor my spending habits

the duck in chinatown had vegetables next to it on the plate and rice noodles

my sister never makes rice noodles

the woman had brown flesh she gave me a receipt

i have no money even though i have money

she has the money even though i have money

our parents had money and they died now i have money and so does my sister

when i had duck in chinatown i was younger and the streets were cleaner and i knew many people and the city felt like mine

my sister makes chicken but not duck

the restaurant in chinatown is not there anymore i walked past it one day on one of my walks that i can go on and it was not there. it had nothing. it was empty and grey

the woman felt like mine

paper lanterns

my keefer street, my gore street, my vancouver gone

i have no peking duck. i have no money because my sister must monitor my habits

i looked for her but she was gone

i used to monitor but i do not anymore

i had money then and i had duck then and i didn’t have any sister monitoring my habits then

i have a brother but he is in a home in whiterock

there must be another place to get peking duck in chinatown

my sister does not like me to take money with me when i leave the house. it used to be just my house but now it is our house

i am old but not so old that i need someone to monitor my spending habits. i used to monitor spending habits in the place i worked for so long ago–mr. bill from accounting–the business of my parents and my brother and sister but now i am not allowed to monitor

i do not have spending habits i have non-spending habits. i have walking habits and sleeping habits and eating habits and pissing habits and shitting habits and not-fucking habits and television watching habits and nervous habits but not spending habits

i do not know how much a duck costs these days but i have money and i doubt a duck today costs a lot

we made paper lanterns for the chinese restaurants

the skin isn’t good for me my sister says. my sister worries about my heart and my spending habits

they swung above the tables red

skin is good for ducks why the fuck isn’t it good for me?

your heart she says

i will eat the duck’s heart

my sister says i am impossible now and someone like me needs to have someone to monitor my habits

i have a brother in a home. he does not monitor me yet he is still my brother

my sister says our brother is in home and i am here looking after you so who cares at least you don’t have a wife who puts you in a home

he does not monitor my spending habits

there must be another place to get it

i do not have a wife the woman died of a habit before she could be a habit now i have spending habits and receipt habits and not-fucking habits

my sister probably loves me and my brother and my parents once and the wife i never had with brown skin at the restaurant who died and we all loved each other when we were all young but how much time do i have? the receipt my heart

my heart

i have to have some

the receipt

my heart

 

i stopped it before it could stop me

her heart

she is dead but i have habits that will not leave me

sss sss

i have to have some before i go

 

© Vivian Zenari
[This piece was selected by Valerie O’Riordan. Read Vivian’s interview]