Farnoosh Fathi

The Tailor

But I was going to make it as a flowy tailor, a milli pins doing push-ups around me, less me than my shadow, and further less my shadow than my outline, as I rode a sinuous flame through the Kingdom of Double Chins.

So with the sound, an oversound, of singing in the morning, it seemed natural to me to bring down the curtains and take up my mending of the local medicine woman’s coat. Of course I have many jobs in the queue, but if I don’t begin with the one that interests me most, my day will be ruined, and this I don’t have to tell you doesn’t help the quality of my repairs either. And as the owner of this small shop, it’s up to me to begin with whatever repair I esteem is most important, and though it’s hardest to convince myself on this point, I believe this ought to be one of highest possible interest.

Yet it’s rare that I am able to begin working as I wish— interruptions are manifold and much is irreconcilable, like getting a step caught in trains of robes, training robes, else long automatical seatbelts made of bloodhound ears, or the intern, who seeking so desperately to please is always fumbling, and out of the corner of my eye I can sometimes see him deep in a terror about some future error that will lead him, some day, to the mirror with nonpareils fixed like buttons on his eyes. He will have to suffer, fatally, the disadvantages of both his fears and his desires, since he so amply enjoys their benefits. One such look at the intern and everything in my work becomes saturated— as they say, with blood sweat and tears —so that when I imagine that I'm doing something, following through with some job or another— I do not know that is just a thought I’m steeped in so that a small part of me feels occupied with imagining itself and on accord of which it keeps being there, going along with it. But when the real work happens, I can hardly recognize what is going on, though I am nodding (for many chins) the whole way through as if with a premonition of that moment to come in which I do recognize some form of the giving itself. Then I think, ah, oh, I am doing something miraculous, something which I have not wanted has revealed itself and this is the prize of not being aware of having suspended my discernment; yet all along it has been happening:

There are the mice running up the walls with one of the countess’s satin gloves, always the same one, the same countess who goes “without chins,” that must be chased and captured, and with equal respect to both parties, a phrase I cannot balance without all of my concentration, touching glove to chin, yet so often the force of this effort causes the roll of paper that customarily dispenses receipts to be repeatedly adjusted, or alternately replaced if the paper stiffens and refuses to continue or reverses swiftly into the register, where it remains for sometimes the entire day.