Memory is my home. I sing and rot at the same time. The declivities, the eastern kettles and drumlins I visit at the end of summer with Phenobarbital spritzers knocking in my bruised rucksack. The air is grouchy and I love to pet the grass and swing little, slimy frogs by their legs and shout Baudelaire at them.
My notebooks are soiled and worn, but empty. I’ve made some decisions lately that remain fresh up top next to the mush about nuns and penmanship. First—I will do away with the wires, but after I reach Knott’s fork. Second—Chimpanzee will be reclaimed when I use ‘durst’ in a real sentence with a real stranger. Last—trade for another spoon.
I went out of feeling when the green hairs grew from my ears. Tympanum shuddered and I was below. A foundling. My mistress might twitch if I caught her in the oven. She had a bunch of health questions and signals gone wrong after we moved to the triplex with Billy. Billy told me I had the wrong idea about women. Why I threw the barrel of basmati at him is only known to the angels. He went north, the asshole—liked cold and fires and things that did not talk. If I am mawkish, Billy is my greatest regret. My mistress could be anyone, anything. A pencil, a crumpled sock, my little finger.
When warmed, I follow sparrows to the river. I gurgle and ooze underwater—my tears mean enough to drown just after birth. In the long kingdom I have found so many pennies and screws it is ridiculous. Never nails, never newspapers. I’m of a sound weight because of my metals, and I dally into regions that would normally not have me because I have hypochondrias to share and because no one can stand to lick my bones.
When they finalize me I want to go back and touch a man. He doesn’t have to be ruddy or spiky. He can be foreign, belly-swollen, toe-gnarled. I won’t use his ears, but I’ll slip him my heart and he can know that I wasn’t kidding, there was a circular charm where my wishing used to be. Me and him—we’ll go somewhere far. It’ll be like getting out of school on a winter afternoon. We’ll meander towards home and potatoes holding pinkies and feeling good because tomorrow is more of the same.
But that is before the unbloom. Now the sun is falling and I’m spinning. I’m not yet eaten out; I’m faulty—holding onto the ribbons for too long.
I don’t have a chance.