The Way I've Seen Her Ever Since
by David Bersell
Brothers box under streetlights, teenagers race up mountains. A romance shifts during a game of tennis. David Bersell's debut essay collection pairs the intimate with the athletic, weaving family and first love, lyric and narrative.
2017 | 77 pp | 978-0-9911863-8-9
From “Reptiles and Other Creatures”
Iggy is dying. He won’t eat his iceberg lettuce, and the crickets I bought at the pet store bounce around his tank as if they’re trying to rub it in his face. My iguana is dying. I don’t know how I know this, but I do. I am ten.
I lift the screen off the top of the glass tank and pick up Iggy and hold him in the crook of my elbow. He’s a warm beanbag against my forearm. He blinks, and I look into his black marble eye. Lizards blink, but snakes do not. My older brother Kevin owns eight snakes. They sleep in two tanks above Iggy’s. “Santa” gave us a black iron stand to house all our pets. Kevin and I sleep in bunk beds next to the cages. Karen gets her own room. She’s the oldest.
I say, “Why are you not eating?”
Iggy doesn’t answer. Nose to tail, he is five feet long. He’s mostly tail. It hangs off my arm and curls up toward my bellybutton. Iggy was the size of a Snickers bar when I picked him out two birthdays ago. He cost eight dollars. We’re regulars at the exotic pet store, so the men with sun-bleached tanks and jerky skin take us out back and show us the good stuff, the komodo dragons and baby gators and anacondas.
“Iggy,” I say, “I love you. Please don’t die.”