inspired by Aase Berg

Gopher

The animal sighs as she crushes it in her fist: she thought it would struggle more.  Taste of mint, cardboard, nothing. She can’t feel anything but tingling. The tree branches tear her dress as she climbs.  She rips the hem to make a bandage. The nerves in her fingers degrading, breaking down into a brown soup, excreted through her pores. In some places in the South, they call this problem “sugar”.

She can’t “feel” anything.  When she sleeps in the weeds under the live oak, she wakes up with worms in her hair. No shoes, blisters pulsing on the soft pads of her toes. Her feet are so tiny, she breaks her ankle stepping in an animal’s small tunnel.  She feels a certain humming in her cells, a certain approach to liquefaction. The window is unbreakable.

Convinced a gopher nibbled her fingertips while she slept, she let one hand dangle off the edge of the mattress to the floor. Without soap, the fur under her arms spread.   He took her underwear the second time, left her in a room. He promised to bring sheets, maybe a pillow.  You come over here and hug me, or I’ll bite you, I will.

She often wakes with blood under her fingernails, the taste of tar in her mouth.  The worms twist as she plucks them from her bangs, tiny worms the length of an eyelash or a cat’s claw; they feel like raw dough or dead skin when she pinches them between her thumb and finger. When there’s nothing left, she chews the edges of her hair.

Holes all over her face: in some seasons, they’re called “pockmarks“.  When they met, he let her lean on him to remove her heels, helped her take them off.   On the inside of her eyelids, she sees the numbers flash: yellow, the size of horses, blurry.

She met him when he bumped her on the train platform, spilling her burnt coffee all over her shiny pink heels.  Tiny claws, scrabbling, fur as soft as an old dollar bill.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. cherylanne
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 13:38:12

    Hi downtherabbit, love your writing. And thanks for sharing it! I get so frustrated when someone shares a link and I don’t get to read any poetry.

    Reply

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