FOUR LIFE FORMS
I was having an affair with my partner’s therapist, and she was having an affair with mine. It didn’t feel great. For a start, I suspected that her therapist must have heard some pretty damaging misrepresentations of me. The Copenhagen holiday. The Volkswagen Dealership Incident. A litany like that. I sometimes thought that I could see flickering fires of judgement burning in the backs of her therapist’s eyes when we met for chess and sex in her dim garden flat. Even worse, I had poured poison about my partner into the ear of my therapist for six years, and he still managed to fancy her. What sort of person could like the woman I had described? A woman who had done the casual evils I had accused her of? According to me, she was a clonal colony of malice covering dozens of acres. My therapist either didn’t believe me or thought that she was worth the risks. I understood this. Because I had felt that way once, and who’s to say, if we’re being honest, that I wasn’t mostly to blame for what happened? The epidemic that triggers the extinction event. Not long after I had discontinued therapy, I heard from a friend that our therapists, Graham and Tayla, had started a relationship of their own and were moving to Sydney together. I understood this, too. All in all, I had a lot to occupy my thoughts in the long nights after I moved my things out of the house and started secretly sleeping in my lab.
ERIK KENNEDY is the author of There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime (Victoria University Press, 2018), and he selected the poetry for Queen Mob’s Teahouse: Teh Book (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2019). His poetry and criticism have recently been published in places like Hobart, The Moth, Poetry, Spoon River Poetry Review, the TLS, and Western Humanities Review. Originally from New Jersey, he lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.