They are slimy and in my house.
Their tentacles slick and long…like tongues –with millions of mouths,
suction-cup lips that open and close, open and close,
Winding, slithering, around my coffee tables, my forest-green leather love seats
Making rolls, ripples, waves under the furry, grassy carpet
As if they were growing roots.
I cut them open.
Their insides are wet and cold.
My living room smells like fish,
Like salt, like the ocean – the yard is turning to water, blue, blue sea
Deeper than it looks; I can’t see the bottom …
But where there is still grass I stab deep into the dirt, and dig
looks like rich chocolate cake
It smells like worms.
The squid (or is it squids?) keep coming. They have giant eyes - the better to see you with, my dear- and little hook mouths (hookworms, they burrow into your skin, fishing hooks, they catch in your cheek, shiny thin membrane fish cheeks) and all those tentacles. Ten, at least.
Coming in through the windows and the back door and the front door.
They don’t ring the bell or even try to knock,
There is never an octopus.
Later I find them in the convenience store,
under fluroescent lights, open 7 till 11,
they're small and pre-packaged, flattened in plastic wrap: tentacles and hoods and hooks and eyes all, dried all, all in plastic.
There’s something unsettling about it.
I prefer my squid stringy, white and dry
(someone once told me that smegma tastes like dried squid. But I like dried squid, I said. Then you’ll like the taste of smegma, she told me, and I wrinkled my nose gross)
I can’t imagine just eating this flattened cephalopod whole.
“American,” Zach accuses me.
Surgery – that strange, sterile place where I go that you cannot follow. They lay me down on a table and turn on the lights above me so that all I see is white.
I could never be a junkie, I have what my doctor called “rolling veins.” Rolling veins do exactly that -that makes them hard to find. It’s as if my veins are instinctively afraid of needles, even though I am not. I worry that they’ll stick the needle in and it won’t be right, and the anesthesia will just sit and bleed under my skin and I’ll be awake for my operation.
They stick the IV in my arm and then I’m out.
I wake up twice during the operation. Or maybe it’s more than that. I suddenly feel like I’m on the coroner’s table and they’re performing an autopsy on me – they all think I’m dead but
I’m still alive and they’re cutting me open, alive.
I sneeze, twice, to make sure they know that this is a living body they’re dealing with, here.
I can see them scraping my insides, feel the scrape-scrape-scrape of the scalpel. I feel no pain. There is a body on the table and it is mine but it is not mine. There is pain in the room but it is not mine.
They sew up my eyes, my skin, reconnect flesh to sinew.
Open, close, they tell me.
I’m in, I’m out.
Wake up, they say.
It’s time to wake up.