Dust. I’m made of dust. In the wind i blow away. In the mirror I’m a sort of fish creature, wiggling back and forth in an obscene parody of swimming, gills opening and closing, goggle-eyed and utterly inhuman. I flee the bathroom mirror but the fish thing follows me, made real by my attention. Even as I write it hovers just behind me, between my shoulder blades where i can never see or touch but i know it’s there.
Some words are black plastic. They constrict around my son’s body. That’s why he’s always squirming. He has no idea it’s the words we speak that squeeze and jostle him so.
I close my eyes but then i am a room made of windows and it is night. A dying elm tree is just outside every window. It’s branches tap and scrape against the glass. I am the sound of dozens of branches rattling against dozens of windows. I am the empty space inside the room. I try to be nothing but I am always something. it is always worse than it seems.
A spiral stairway rises out of my eyes and twists the universe to match its curves. I feel so guilty about how my glance destroys the natural order of things but I can’t stop it and my eyes don’t close anymore. The twisting becomes recursive, spiraling spirals of spirals, a fractal mess of reptilian eyes in a shattered mirror that stare back at me and never ever blink.
The only monster here is me. I repeat it to myself as if it could make me feel better. But there are so many monsters and if they are all me then what am i? I see a volcano erupting but the lava is dead dogs and the ash is flies. What is wrong with me? The thing with tentacles is back, always under the chair or the bed, always trying to slip one up under my skirt. I deserve so much worse than that. The writing on this milk carton is a message sent to me directly from God. EASY FOOD. God wants me to stop struggling so God can finish consuming me. I would, I swear I would but I don’t know how to stop. Even my writing is writhing on a hook. I breathe in all the text, all the letters fly off their places and swirl like a tornado into my lungs. I can’t breathe I can’t breathe please just make it stop but it never. ever. stops.
My daughter looks through me. Her freckles are swirling galaxies and her eyes are rubber. Can she tell that I am falling apart right now? Does she know that I see her in this moment as a scarecrow stuffed with entrails instead of straw? Her gaze is a knife in my heart. She can’t know. The hands that type while I stare at my child don’t belong to me. None of this belongs to me. I don’t know how I got here but i wish someone would take me home.