October 19, 2011
My limbs are light and have no purpose. They float around me, unattached. The limbs of a stranger. They belong to someone selling purses on a cloudy city street corner. Skinny gutter rats with long tails and wiry fur circle my pink throat. They scratch. My mouth waters, puddling around the threaded muscle under my tongue, leaking inside my cheeks. My gums loosen their hold on my teeth, my teeth float. They are someone else’s teeth, hovering beside a customer’s still tongue in my mouth. My eyes burn, fur bristling beneath my eyelids. My hands are clumsy, sifting through dry bills, making change in the pockets of my apron. My hair lifts at the roots, a small windstorm. Cold air rakes my scalp, rivulets of sweat that dry when the street cleaners steam by, brushes spinning in slow, sweeping circles on the concrete. Abandoned newspapers flutter across the sidewalk when the wind blows. My cheeks slacken. I’m losing my center of balance. The bones at my knees crumble. Pigeons dig corridors between the silver skyscrapers, their wings cracking apart the air. The pigeons alight on tall green lampposts and flashing marquees. They walk carefully, shoulders back, heads nodding. A miniature bone structure cleaves their soft breasts. They can’t imagine the fragility of their arrangement. A tiny pulse in their throats beats visibly, keeping time with the blinking “Walk/Don’t Walk” sign. My throat is tight, and it’s beginning to rain. My face drips and the rain smacks the sidewalks. My stomach rumbles when tall tour buses pull out after the red light at the corner changes.
October 20, 2011: Two edits
Gums loosen, and my teeth float beside a stranger’s tongue. My knees crumble. Pigeons dig silver corridors, wings cracking in the air. They alight on flashing marquees, heads nodding. Bones cleave soft breasts. Throats pulse in time with blinking signs. Rain smacks the sidewalks, and buses pull out when the light changes.
Teeth against a stranger’s tongue.
Pigeons dig silver corridors, wings cracking, heads nodding.
Bones cleave soft breasts and throats pulse.
Rain smacks sidewalks
And the light changes.