A trash compactor in a lab-coat sits across
from us in a small beige room. He pulls off his glasses.
And speaks softly. Too softly. He takes no breath. Nor pause.
Nor does he look either of us of in the eye. Boyfriend grabs my
Tautness. A quicksand feeling, like when you
lose your balance. Like vertigo knit- purling itself over and
through each rib. creating a cozy coal mine inside each lung.
Blacker than the breaths they take in. This blackness
pools into the spongy pockets, of each lung; overflowing my
windpipe with kerosene, smoke and sob.
Each choke is thick as chicken fat collected for
several days on the stovetop in a measuring cup. This same
thickness throbs behind his eyes, leaving his head too heavy to
hold itself up, so he rests his head in my lap.
H i s j o i n t s a c h e , h e t e l l s m e as we
l e a v e t he s m a l l b e i g e room. I make him strange
promises to comfort him. I say I will bathe him in salts,
plum-milk a n d l a v e n d e r , f o u r t i m e s a d a y . H i s
s k i n w i l l g r o w i r i d e s c e n t for want of the sun.
He will become an anthology of musculature breaking free of
tendon and bone.
My stomach, and its knotted valleys, will no
longer enjoy food. I will barely keep anything down when I
manage to eat. I will feel the shifting of blood in my veins, like
rivers in a drought, or tenses in a workshop, whenever I hear pills
slide out of a bottle with his name on the label.
The soft skin around my eyes will break at the
edges. Salt-wounds will foam red at the site of tears. I will
wake at all hours of the night just to watch the flashing dots on
the cable box. The murmur between my lungs will itch fever-hot
and burn too much to speak to him.