Interview with B. Tape II: Rachel Long in Granta

Before he moved in it was peaceful.
All picnics, BBQs on blanket beaches,
long drives in pastel convertibles.

My Kenny had an army jeep,
an absolute steal from (sips tea) a neighbour.
He said when I rode in it,

I became even more perfect.
The contrast! − my angel face
against the camo.

Steve tried to threaten Kenny,
Kenny was just retaliating,
just protecting me −

Steve wore these bright red swim shorts. Too bright.
Everything about those people is so . . .
you know?

Ken ripped those right off, my brave bull,
tossed them into the sea.
Steve was so black he never bruised, I mean

crime went up in the area! Tools all over the beach,
my Kenny having to keep a fork – a real fork
under his pillow, I said, Baby, leave it, forget him

but Kenny said it was the principle
and I giggled.
Kenny says my giggle is intoxicating.

He un-velcroed my ballgown,
right there on the beach, we −
(plays with pendant)

When I awoketh − that’s the right word, isn’t it? −
Kenny was gone. My phone was back at the log cabin
along with my shoes. Otherwise I would’ve called or . . . (shrugs)

I don’t like to talk about this −
OK, fine, he went looking
for Steve

Found him
walking home from the pool-bar he worked
Ken crimped him into the back of the jeep.

There was punching, kicking, spitting,
force – I mean, allegedly (rolls eyes,
stubs out cigarette)

But you know the worst thing?
(turns to Ken) Tell them, Baby,
tell them what you told me

− about the blood,
how it couldn’t even well
in his eyes.