Mother. She must be.

I think.

Hands are folded, mouth is folded, below a collapsible razor nose. But that was before that type of folding razor, and my mother wouldn’t have had one for a nose, anyway. The eyes, though, there are elements in the eyes. Pigments, I guess I mean. Crushed up cobalt and carapaces wrenched from creeping things of the sea. Love all God’s creatures, Michael, she said once at the shore, coming over to me. Love them. Especially the ugly ones.

I had just killed a horseshoe crab.

I liked the ugly ones anyway.

I think.


Father. Yes. Right. Hi would be.

No beard. I wanted him to have a beard. I knew that if he had a beard he would be nicer. But as he was…. Well, exactly as he is: nothing to hide the intoxication in his cheeks. Surely he wasn’t still drunk for the photographer. Ah, Pops. Surely he was.

But there’s still hair. When was this? The hair is curly, even. Baldness always comes as a shock to the ones with curly hair. My father: blonde-brown skin, brown-blonde hair. Blonde-brown eyes? Bloodshot, I can’t tell anymore, I can’t remember.

I liked him.


Sister. Megan Sweeney. Megan Annabelle Sweeney. Megan Hannibal Sweetie.

We always looked so much alike. You know: you’re a redhead, my hair used to be black; my eyes are blue some days, usually on the days yours are brown; I’m a foot taller now, I guess, but you can’t tell that from the drawing you made of us. When was this? You must have been about five, or was it after the—? I can’t tell anymore, I can’t remember. But there you are, Sis, a few lines in orange crayon, and I’m also in orange. We’re following a blue crayon lion with a mane that must be on fire. No, I’m wrong. You’re the lion.

Where the hell are you, Megs?



Yeah, this is me. Hi. My name is Michael Sweeney. See, that’s my tow-head, those are my brown eyes. What? You don’t like my watercolor?

Oh, you do like it.

Oh, just not the yellow cloud.

Right, well, I don’t like the yellow cloud very much either.

But it is real. Art’s supposed to represent things, isn’t it.

Anyway, now you’ve seen my family.

I’m sure they’d like to meet you too.

Oh, it’s time for the machine? Oh, okay. Okay.

You’ll see the yellow cloud then. I always do. I think.

This is the question: “Oh, okay, Doctor Mulligan. Okay.” Or as is?