A Mental List of All My Friends

November 29, 2010

choose your own adventure

the sun lays in top of me like a body in the morning. sweating, hideously uncomfortable, i’m paralyzed beneath the hot weight.

i set about convincing myself i was about to throw up. nothing turns the mattress into a spring board like impending vomit. i dove off the bed at what was meant to be the last moment, slid into my spot in front of the toilet, and nothing. a pathetic dry heave. an awkward silence. me with the bowl between my knees. staring into last night’s unflushed piss gone iridescent.

remember when i had long hair? how, wet, it would spill over my chest. leaving my t-shirt so awkwardly dampened. now, head shaved and breasts heavy, my t-shirt is soaked at the tits from hunger. the tears are flowing in the next room and i’m drenched. exhausted, nipples gum-chewed into bursting, pitted cherries.

on a bus in 1948. frontline dirt roads. bloodless veins threading Poland. dry and tired. i sat cradling my breasts, enormous and aching to feed your tiny body. i’d left you with my sister that day, tugging on her eternal braid while your hunger pulls my tits to the ground. this was my break from your screaming mouth, gums already promising hard, sharp teeth.

two older women get on, glaring. ‘the young these days’ they crow ‘no respect’ loud under their breath, coveting my seat. the ride is bumping. every pothole threatens to rip my breasts from my body. and all the time they hurl embittered disapproval at me, rolled in the sugary aires of politeness they maintain between themselves. “no, widzi pani, jakie to czasy.” “no tak, moja kochana, tak to jest.”

until i’d had enough. i freed my hands from beneath the heaving mass and let them tear open my blouse in a fit that could not rob me of the dignity i did not have before the switchblade eyes of these dignified hags. i decided to glare back, breasts sopping wet and eyes on fire, tear brimmed.  their embarassed apologies seemed to quiet your hunger, and my blouse dried quietly before i reached Prokocim. as i was getting off the bus a withered woman handed me a button that had popped off my blouse and rolled under her feet. her friend took my vacant seat.

a leg you’re about to lose

i’m lying here trying not to feel like every touch will end me.  inside my skull i keep rereading my notes. i am the dispensable one. hard to do, inside my skull.  hard when, just outside, your fingers are grazing my temples.  i shake you off.  shake my head hard and feel a hangover like whiplash.  feel how hard your face throbs in there.  your face that just lies on that pillow for me to stare at.  your eyes like two fishbowls staring back. a lot of eyes collecting my image. discarding it in seconds.  you can stare at the pretty fish all you like, but it’s nearly impossible to touch one.  but i hunt you like a kitten.  getting my paws wet.  unskillfully.

i fly out of bed and into a frenzy of heading for the party.  your fishbowls gawking.  i’m crouching helplessly over a pool of clothes, fishing out pieces of fabric that have lost their meaning.  my head is swimming and i can’t tell sleeves from stockings.  and i keep talking.

“i want to throw up.”

a pair of longjohns is dislodged.  i teeter.

“my own pulse is about to knock me over.”

i excuse you and lie down huffing.  you declare the need for a cigarette like it’s our last hope.  with cold, professional resignation.  like a surgeon saying ‘we’ll have to amputate.’  but you’d have to step over me to get to the balcony, and somehow you can’t bring yourself to do it.  you collapse over me.  i’m touched.  i touch your hand. you put away the cigarette and hold me tight.  a leg you’re about to lose.

five years old

when i was five i dreamt of our sunny german flat. mainz. my mother, naked, with a platter serving fruit and liquor to my father and his boss. all bearded. beer-bellied. there was something sinister about Peter. the boss. and later that dream i was running towards a prison on a hillside. a dirt road cutting a long winding fairy tale into the  blue-green foaming fields. a dark fortress. and suddenly i’m inside. a tiny body behind thinly spaced bars.

the next day i told her i would marry her. my mother. i said i’d make her my wife one day. i declared my mission plainly, sparing her the details. i was calmer after that, knowing that one day she would be freed from her life of servitude. i, the liberator.

2 Responses to “A Mental List of All My Friends”

  1. Logan said

    More, please!

  2. johnnyforever said

    Oh, there’s more.

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