Adorno, Sarasota



Theodor Adorno visits andrea bennett in the bathtub; bennett visits her nana in Sarasota.

Theodor Adorno

entered my kitchen. He stood over the failed pot of yogourt and said decisively, The culture is not strong enough.

I tried to tell him my mother never made yogourt (my father didn’t either), but he’d gone.

I put another pot in a warm bath, set it in a spot not too hot or cold. Addressing an audience filled with ancestors, I said, The trick is to start with a good yogourt and whisk a bit into the milk when it reaches room temperature.

After the second pot failed, I put myself into a warm bath. Adorno sat on the toilet seat, watching my breasts float at the surface. He didn’t say anything as my skin blushed with heat, kept quiet when the bath cooled, did nothing but watch as my nipples hardened from pride or chill.

A Bird on the Beach in Sarasota

snaps its beak shut—the clasp of an elegant clutch. It’s a tern, toeing its way through the red drift. And two men are walking the beach, legs thin as gulls.

Nana turns to watch a boat being lowered into the harbour. I’ll bet you they’re going fishing, she says.

Another man clears his throat and reaches for his cooler—lounger keeling starboard. Thirsty, he says to the woman beside him, want a Busch? The cooler is the kind where you push a button on the side and the lid slides back.

Later, my nana and I will watch the news and they’ll pan a beach, saying epidemic and heart problem. Filming people from the neck down, walking—or lounging, belly up. Portion sizes.

What do you fancy for supper? asks Nana. I watch the tern pecking, pulling threads from its patch of seaweed. I don’t know, I answer, I don’t really mind. And she clucks and says the wind’s picked up—we’d better get going. She folds up her chair. Not a blummin’ pelican, she says. I can’t believe it. Not a one.

We leave the beach, drive away in a sand-coloured Toyota. I press my face to the window glass. See the gull-legged man visiting the man with the Busch—clearing his empties. See that news shot of torsos torquing, feet grubbing their way through the sand.

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andrea bennett has published four books and has written for many outlets, including the Atlantic, the Globe and Mail, Maisonneuve and the Walrus. bennett has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. They live on the West Coast.



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