lillie kate CC
Where The Street Meets The Body
The body despises itself. There is a sliver of knowledge of the traumas it passed through in these decades. There is no breath. The lungs have a lot to say about what’s going on, but are muffled, held mute by the warfare of blazing old trails of pneumonia and bronchitis. Over thirty years later and still it is branded on my lungs. I would never deny anyone their agony. But, no matter how many suns drop into the ocean, life is not finding me any easier to bear. So every time I swallow a cactus of mucus, a jagged breath slashes between the thick bars of prison.
So many skies have bled across my vision. I’m not the type to go to the hospital to tread on my crass lifestyle. I see a collage of skeleton x-rays with Day of the Dead ribbons and Milagros rippling across my ribs. It’s a goddamn parade.
When I was a kid they put me in an oxygen tent for months at a time. I could barely see people through a wrinkled, thick plastic. What has changed? I’ve replaced the blurry plastic with endless bottles of wine. This is the splintered parody I have chosen to manage myself within the murky world of adolescence through adulthood. It’s another way to suck the life out of the body and keep childhood memories at bay.
How many therapists does it take to remodel the mindset? When do the cravings for escape shrink themselves instead of me?
Right now, the familial infestation is in my gut. The doctor says all of us cart these bacteria around like a second body. Sometimes they attack the host and wreak armies who seek revenge for a quickened leakage toward death. The streets have had free rein to enter me for as long as I can remember. I have sucked on their skin. I have sucked on their bottles. I have sucked on their pipes. They are reciprocating. They are sucking on me.
There is nothing special here. It is as simple as surrender to the paralysis of another day. We are told there are choices. Anything can happen. The strange invitation I read and abide by is much like building a fire to keep the bones warm. I will meld into the fabric that has comforted me. I am tethered to my ghost of yesterday. Somehow he keeps me planted in that strange patch of decimation I call home.
Meg Tuite is author of four story collections and five chapbooks. She won the Twin Antlers Poetry award for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging. She teaches writing retreats and online classes hosted by Bending Genres. She is also the fiction editor of Bending Genres and associate editor at Narrative Magazine. http://megtuite.com
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