by Garth Greenwell
Miami University Press. 96 pages, $15.
THE RESTROOMS at Bulgaria’s National Palace of Culture had just one use—and it wasn’t to relieve oneself. So when the American teacher descended the stairs and was captured by a hushed voice, he knew full well what was going to happen. The young man was tall and thin with a “close-cropped military cut of hair so popular among young men … a hyper-masculine style” and he seemed a little bad-boy dangerous. He couldn’t speak English well and the American could only grasp a few words of Bulgarian, but through gestures and stumbling, they came to an agreement and retired to a stall.
Mitko was the man’s name, as the American learned, and he was basically homeless, sleeping on sofas belonging to his brat mi, in doorways, or in the beds of his clients. But even though the American teacher understood the situation clearly, he longed to have one night alone with this man that he couldn’t stop thinking about.