I held my breath as you carved a line down my thorax, sliced clean through my chest plate. I needed help & you saw it right away. You in your white lab coat, absentmindedly chatting about how you love the southwest, the empty, the canyon. You cracked me open & began removing all the junk stored inside: my insomniac nightmares, my darkdecade lullabies, some extra wishbones & molars. You stood over me a long time, inspecting carefully; my skin splayed open like a messy star exploding. You apologized to me sadly, as if my body was our bedroom & you'd left your wet towels on the floor. Listen you said we are going to have to take everything out. It's going to hurt, but that's temporary. You looked sad. Things just don't look right and your insides need air. We'll put it back after, but your insides need air. I was sad, too, about that pretty face. What a shame to gut it all & the changes to be made seemed slight but costly. I said I understand so you bent into my redcloud and began the process, wincing as you pulled my pieces out one-by-one & you talked about love. But you didn't mean it. I mean, that much blood can make you say stuff. You sung softly to me about happiness but with a blackvamp voice that meant sadthing. Of course, singsong is still more comforting than silence for obvious reasons. Then you put everything back inside me neatly, sighing loudly & those sad eyes. Much better now, you're going to be okay. And you left me there, sleeping, curled up on the table like a heart.
Libraries, for example, are good places to escape the viciousness of people when they try to get inside of you. Between the shelves there is plenty of space to lick your wounds. This is something I do often. My first twenty years weren’t easy I was always busy with the important occupation of dismantling myself—an exhausting and ungrateful enterprise. I did this so earnestly that I was, in fact, convinced I had invented the vocation. I just kept carving and carving. Did I ever succeed? in scraping clean the rind. in turning myself inside-out. What is left? after such a thorough cauterization. One raw little soul. I can still taste that grief in my mouth like champagne, icy & no hint of sweetness. I could have stayed inside all day. Meanwhile on the quad, a pretty girl walks her small white dog across the grass & shadows sprawl across the perfect lawn with their splotchy memory. Although memory, I am learning, always give back much more color than what was there in the first place. I look back now, and I want to feel that grass on my skin. But all I can remember is that I hated my life and I hated my life. The feeling comes and goes, but at least I find a quiet absolution in my landscape: the restfulness of books and sunlight in an empty room that transforms the isolation into something else entirely.