WHAT HAVE I BECOME? A TOOTHY FLESH-HUSK
LIVING FOR THE CHERRY IN A CAN OF MIXED FRUIT
HOW I SPENT MY CAPITALIST SUMMER VACATION BY DIAN SOUSA
I set up my tent in a paved-over carnival of a campground,
where the trees have survived horrific operations
and can now be trained to twirl at sunset in exchange for a tablespoon of cold water.
My tent will not make it through the night.
It is surrounded by motorhomes bigger than military machinery.
There must be brilliant Gargantuans inside these unbreachable machines,
cleaning guns or playing cribbage, but I have not seen them.
I have only seen a cat and a skunk… not together.
When a standard-issue woman is finally deployed through the giant capsule of a door,
I dive into my tent because I am sure there will be smoke rising behind her,
and flags, and night goggles, and M16’s,
but it is just 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
She only has a People Magazine and a cocktail.
She sits in a lushly padded round chair.
The chair looks exactly like an enormous doughnut
made of radioactive orange marmalade.
When the sky dries up and starts to drop like rotting ceiling insulation,
and the flaming ocean boils over the charbroiled earth, she will eat that doughnut.
If it happens today, I hope she offers me a bite.
This mutated Venus, late stage Aphrodite, fashioned from bleach and leather,
pneumatic pistons and tiny hydro-electric drainage systems,
sees me peeking through my tent, she knows I want to touch her.
Not touch her…really, but dissect her…a little.
how long she can exist
outside of the terrifying machinery?
Ask her if she plugs in?
If she has spare parts?
And could I see them?
Could I get some to match my skin tone?
Ask her, how she is possible?
She says hello to me.
Tells me the day is nice…
As if yesterday was a lying psychopath who seemed lazy and kind of blue at first,
but then tried to burn us alive with the fragile kindling of our own borrowed money.
She says the day is nice
in a voice whose young fruit has been brutally muddled
in the hard bottom of a narrow glass and smashed through a sieve,
each luscious cell dissolved into that flat, narcotic sweetness
craved mainly by the strip mall dead.
I say hello back.
I say hello, I come in peace…sort of.
She laughs at this.
And the laugh is made of small rhinestone dog collars
and psychotropic sleeping aides the fluorescent green of anti-freeze.
I come in peace too, she says.
But I know, like me, she means pieces.
Dian Sousa’s third book, The Marvels Recorded In My Private Closet, was published by Big Yes Press in 2014. She lives and surfs in Los Osos, California.