Bits | Neobie Gonzalez

In my dream I carry a mason jar filled
with bits of Einstein’s brain (stolen
before the rest of him was ashes), pieces
they still haven’t found. I run up
the stony steps of Gaudi’s basilica
in Barcelona (built 1882 and finished
never). Spires high, bricks laid, most of it
a skeleton of becoming. Some fugue

(Bach’s maybe) plays through a room,
and it’s then I wake up, losing
its last notes. One time in French class,
my teacher told us “I miss you”
was said as Tu me manques. Switch
that back to English and it’s “You
are missing from me.” or, simply
put: “I lack you.” (or is it
the other way around?) Everyone
sighed at exactly the same second,
while I thought of a hole growing right
in the middle of a man, just above
his navel, swelling by the size of what
had long been gone from him. Soon
it was stretched into the silhouette
of his mother, pleased at return. But sensing want
of her son, another hole bloomed within her
until she formed him, a cycle of coming
and going and coming, because nothing will ever be
enough for either of them (nothing would
be the same). I wondered then
how long it would take me to grow
into the shape of you, if we would even fit
each other. You, being tall and me, tiny,
in tiptoed sneakers (too often). There
isn’t enough space here for absence. I think
of things I used to have –  pins (dropped), nails
(trimmed off), marbles (given away), and the bell
starts ringing. I stay behind to wear this
buttonless sweater around me (yours),
while the class stands up and shuffles, leaving
(all our half-open books gently shut.

Neobie Gonzalez is uncomfortable. She lives in Manila, Philippines, co-edits PLURAL Journal (, and blogs at

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.