I spent lifetimes shoving boiled acorns between my gums. All is for the scavenger, the gorgon. Last time she was here, everything stopped: the backyard stream, the gauze of northern lights, my nylon hopelessness, tawdry with sheeplike malfeasance. Did she leave? I stare into the Wisconsin horizon full of gushing platitudes and ruby sadness. When the pale sun melts into blackness and the sky vanishes into the shatterlight, I am born. From the head of a horse, I am born. There is no territory: only a map.
This is where you show up, the cosmic Wal-Mart greeter, holding some kind of previously unknown appetizer. The moths are spinning this way and that.
Vibrating in milky ripples, you tell me: Be thankful, American child, for I am taking you to the State Fair, a mirthful place with flesh-piercing electricity. We see a sprawl of spicy mechanical revelry. Entire families sport matching mustard-stained skullcaps. Something is very wrong.
And Alice opens her eyes. The first thing she sees is a pink balloon. A hefty purple bird hovers here too, bestowing blessings. Nobody is ever sad in this hospital.
We’ve been here a long while. My ecto-limb, wrapped up in celery stalks, ekes out some last will to sustain itself. Beetles swarm on our shoes, locking eyes with desire. They have dreams and social routines. Contemplation is a lie.
The leaves on the trees shake in eerie unison, an immoral flapping. My bones are forfeit and my heart thumps in the paws of Anubis. Every breath is broken glass. My eyes are the old eyes of Venus. My lips, the rose lips of Earth. My hair in a Peloponnesian braid. Death finally sees himself in the food court. Scythe is ready. Destiny is ready. The smell of grease.
Pineapples overflow the garbage bin. Black-frilled hornets lapse into silence till the only word remaining in English is “eject.” I am meanwhile still in fourth grade, learning my multiplication tables. Their secret subject is the crystalline dryad fertilizing heaven’s glaze. Somewhere deep in my cerebellum, a twig snaps and I shout the name JOAN without understanding what it means.
Naturally, you appear—just inches from me and yelling with wordless drool. Reality returns hot. Needing a victim, I return to the circus. Now I am older and brawny as an airbag.
Listen up, clown, I say, grabbing your collar. Have you seen my car? That Buick is so shiny it’s like Napoleon washed it himself. This ain’t the clown car you’ve been driving all your life. It’ll make you jealous. So how about punching yourself in the face, clown? Yeah. That’s pretty good. Go on.
You beat your red nose with a gloved fist. Dust billows because some vital part of your outfit is made of woven flour. I can tell you lost it all, and fell off the map. People didn’t know what to do with you. They looked at you all sad, like a gingerbread seashell.
In pajamas and a full face of makeup, I become aware of the Korean film crew behind me. The Vice President speaks between bites of raw kidney: I think you need to prepare yourself; I am already complete; I have gone Republican so I can keep taking pills.
I swear, when my boyfriend screams, it is not my boyfriend.
In case it isn’t clear, I’ll spell it out. Papist. Babysitter. Crustacean. Black tar cocaine. On the moon’s face glows the ugly side of the internet, out on display for all to see. The breeze lurches in a grim litany. Swiftly you grow to seven feet tall. What a wonderful time of life, you whisper.
end bug report 2