The Third Sleeve
Matthew Savoca

in every square is a reenactment
of the first time a pigeon ate a child.
i saw it again this morning
on my way to
the city of the other economy
where i went for the fifth time in five days
to secretly spy
on my wife's
ex husband-from-a-previous-life.

i made my way through the empty pens of abandoned
ex chunks-of-cow-flesh
and found five euros on the ground
as i passed the african-man-with-the-clipboard.
i thought about the rules
and the amendments to the rules
then i bought a bar of chocolate
and a glass of blood orange juice.
i ate the chocolate and
drank the orange juice.
then i fell asleep
in the sun room
and when i woke up
my jacket had a third sleeve.

Arthur woke up when the sun was finished, just after. He stood up and put on his jacket, pretending to show it off. "You're probably interested in knowing what kind of jacket this is and how much it cost, or at least its color, which I can tell you is blue. Dark-ish blue, but not navy. I mean, kind of like navy because it's blue like a sailor's jacket with this white zipper to close the jacket here and these two breast pockets here, but it's not that dark," he said to no one. "I mean, you can see it, anyway."
No one didn't say anything back to Arthur.

When he put on his jacket, arms regular like, through the normal sleeves, the original sleeves, Arthur noticed there was a third sleeve, which clearly wasn't there before. Or at least he didn't think so. Arthur had nowhere in particular to go, and upon realizing this and that he was inside of a rather warm all glass room, he took his jacket off and sat back down in the chair with which he was acquainted. Arthur looked around the room and found no one. He removed his hat, shifted in the chair, and scratched his head. He put his hat back on, carefully, over his twisted hair. He looked around the room and found no one.

"It's a long life," he said to no one.
No one didn't say anything back to Arthur.
Two negatives make a positive, he thought. "And that's twice in a row now. Two plus two makes four. Arthur is good at math."
"Matthew. Is good at math."
"Arthur is good at art."

Arthur looked at his feet and felt the holes on the sides of his shoes. He looked outside. No rain. Not wet. He took the plastic bag out of his right shoe and put it over his face. He pulled it tight and made the plastic wrap inside his mouth by trying to draw air. He put the bag back inside the shoe, making sure to cover the part that gets wet sometimes. The part that makes his sock wet sometimes.

"Matthew is good at math. Arthur is good at art."

Arthur stood up to check the change in his pocket. Twenty cents. "That and fifty cents will buy you a cup of coffee," he said in his father's voice.

The weather was cold, although not cold enough to snow yet. Not that it ever really snowed in that city. Arthur remembered the snow from another city. And while Arthur was remembering things, he remembered reading a Berman poem in which the protagonist remarks how the outdoors seem like a room when it's snowing. Arthur couldn't be sure, but the cold is more bearable when it snows. He knew that. He took a small brown notepad out of his pocket, and a pen, and wrote something down. Arthur was always writing things down. An image. A description. A phrase someone said. A thought.
He finished writing, put the notepad away and decided it was time to go. Once again Arthur stood up, but this time waiting until he was almost outside to put on his jacket- arms through the original holes, just like always. Outside, and zipped to the throat, Arthur stopped and looked around. To his left and right. Old cobblestone down, graffiti on the walls at the edges of the large square. Arthur took a small flat compass out of his jacket pocket and pointed the arrow north slightly west.

He walked and as he walked, he sometimes talked. No one ever said anything back to Arthur. He walked with his head down to avoid getting his shoes wet. Those parts of his shoes that get his socks wet. The people in the city looked strangely at his jacket. He didn't see the people anywhere, but the people were everywhere. Every once in a while Arthur would take out the notepad to write something down, and when he looked up, the people were hidden behind telephone poles, or under cars. Arthur continued to walk and talk, and write things down in his notebook. All of this went on for a very long time.

Eventually it started to snow. The people were cold, but not Arthur. He thought about putting one of his arms into the third sleeve of his jacket, but didn't.

Nothing else happened for a very long time.