Potluck

 

T H I S    W E E K

WATERSLIDES IN AUXILIARY HOSPITAL WASHROOM by Daniel Thompson

 

body#0022

The body hangs by its porcelain neck:

     pristine,

            a disturbing smile

            dancing motionlessly

            on a lifeless face. 

 

Only ever takes them a moment to get there.

Knowingly
it has made incisions

           – precisely located –
                     majority of the blood drained

                     onto the floor below. 

 

It loves the thought:
             body’s essence congealed,

             taunting them,
             some sort of beautiful crimson metaphor. 

(Difficult to pull off;

            worth the pain.) 

 

They design the body;

          it lives it.

They can never know it;

         it can’t not.

Aching to meet them,

         it calls out. 

 

Its language:

        misunderstood,

               unheard,

                    ignored. 

They listen,

          hear nothing.

Read charts,

         miss the message.

Focusing on the micro,

         ignore the macro.

Always reducing,

          reducing to nothing. 

It tries telling them

things they must know,

          ways they cannot understand.

Speaks to them through death. 

Tells them:
     the important,

            of what matters. 

 

They listen,
        hear nothing.

It screams.

They arrive. 

 

“Insolent father-fucker,”
        the first technician says,

                   teeth tightly clenched. 

 

“No respect.
No appreciation.

Sublime artistry:

            the work we undertake.” 

The second technician nods;

agreement signified.

(Hardly necessary for those of one mind.)

Ponders the right words;

         hopes to strengthen

         their collegial bond.  

“My heart despairs.

No flair.
No creativity.

Hanging oneself:

     nothing less than a sign

     of the decay
     of a once fecund mind.” 

Technician number one:
        stands with arms outstretched,

        longing to embrace the body
             (along with whatever else decides

             to accompany it
             in its prognosticated fall). 

Technician two:
        making wild attempts,

               frees the lifeless object

               from its mid-air suspension;

                     tremors of enraged hands proving an obstacle. 

The body
        (its or theirs?):

         drops,
                    beckoning arms of the first technician

                    happy to receive. 

 

The technician:
       lays the inanimate object down,

              taking care,

                     refuses to let sadistic surfaces be engorged

                     by the body’s form. 

 

Dead eyes:

           peer up.

Trapped.
An asphyxiating gaze

envelops the technician

             (which? hard to say);

             hands run over

             eye-shaped abysses.

Retreat mounted

against reflections within,
             the technician leans down.

A solitary kiss placed on a forehead:

             abandoned,

             forlorn.

There’s feeling in their science.

It knows this;

            thinks it does.

There’s feeling,

           wrong feelings,
                       feelings of wrongness.

Should it be seeing this? Is it?
They think not;

          it knows it is so.

Confused gestures follow;

              half sentences;
              remarks broken midstream.

Both technicians:

      leave;

          the room:

                empties;

                      way is made for:

                             superior officers. 

 

 

 

Nicholas Lawrence is a postgraduate philosophy student living in Stockholm. His original fiction has been published in Tincture Journal and his translations appear on Monday Art Project