Days of the God-Sized Brains
Paradise thickens in the atmosphere of thieves. I’m stealing shirtsleeves in shackles, turning water into Wittgenstein, when an absence comes calling like an Amway salesman. I offer thanks to the schoolyard girls who could talk about the past all night until the squashed animal, the way the flesh becomes gray. Repeated phrases in my head love to play with troubled things. Decaf is fine, I said, decaf is fine, decapitation is totally fine.
Propositions baffle me in the night kitchen so I brace myself coming down; since the dawn of time we have cherished hard landings. I lay down the rebar, pour the concrete pillow, rest my head. Underneath the bed, a dusty animal sleeps on a knitted mitten. But the delivery system is all screwed up. I have cannibalistic tendencies and all those bells and whistles, like futuristic time bombs ticking backward beneath my skin.
The furthest thing from sanity follows a trajectory like a comet: throw it out, it comes back frozen. I admire the handiwork of ferris wheels, those pink lights fighting daylight. Falling off the planet doesn’t sound so bad. Beneath this pink canopy, this room circles galaxies with names I have forgotten. Could I have ditched this place for sunny spaces far away, generous sunlight on stucco walls, parrot cry, trying not to die by mistake?
I’m overly fixated on the sin of elevators. They take me back to those early years stamped into the wet cement with chalk drawn love letters and hopscotch games to hell. Fret pillows. That’s what sadness is. I can’t get anywhere by scraping on that chalkboard with eggshells. See how I totter on an exponential line more like an animal than a fairytale or a mountain with a tunnel going through it? I still call my mother every day. She’s such a beautiful shade of green. She’s gone back in time to watch my baby steps again.
Jennifer Metsker’s work has appeared in Gulf Coast, The Cincinnati Review, The Cimarron Review, The Seattle Review, Whiskey Island, alice blue review and many other journals. She has poetry forthcoming in Nightblock, Cream City Review, and Rhino, and an essay coming out in the anthology Show Me All Your Scars. She teaches writing at the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan.