There are rivers everywhere. The color of your blood changes rapidly and results in heavy breathing. In most cases, you are not aware of its contents—this liquid medium failing to coagulate and sprayed in exaggerated patterns all over the walls of your house. How unfamiliar the scent! How suggestive these defining traits! How convenient it is to locate ourselves within a particular phylum alongside aurochs, satyrs and other extinct creatures!
Dispossession is not the word you were thinking about. There is a moment before the moment before the moment. That’s the moment your body morphs into another. You think, There’s no place like it. The person you wake up next to is not the same person who you fell asleep with. Her identity has been reconstructed using only materials containing natural fibers which have been sourced from within a small radius of the place of her birth. She says, “Even the soil there has been drenched in our blood.”
Without such things, we would not survive on our own. In some ways, the river is large and fulfills its function until it forms a sweeping curve and bends back on itself; and then the water has nowhere to go and sharp little whirlpools begin to tunnel deep into the earth. Small seedlings sprout from the skin on your face. For this you can thank the mirror—an object whose sole function is to confirm and re-confirm your own fantasies.
You quickly note a few non-descript, almost administrative details. 1: There are mangled bodies strewn in grotesque and unnatural positions all over your house. Some of these are likely imagined, while others are still alive, possibly even breathing. 2: Trees have wormed their way in through the walls and carpet. There is a dense undergrowth which you need to clamber through in order to get from one room to another. There are barricades on the outside of the house too, for protection against natural disasters. These provide proof of some intrusion. 3: The television is on, but the inputs have been configured incorrectly, so it simply beams a cheerful yet demoralizing blue light. 4: The woman you woke up next to is gone, of course, just another annotation in a sprawling and indecipherable text spread over hundreds of loose pages. A provisional title, The Catalogue of Unspoken Thoughts, scribbled on the cover page. 5: Capillaries are next to go. Then anything which requires the support of certain enzymes.
At some point during all of this activity, your transformation stops, mid-sentence as it were. You aren’t really part of something or someone else, but you aren’t totally only yourself either. Instead you occupy a kind of in-between space—one in which your strategies and outcomes are linked to another, but generally unrealized figure.
All along you’ve simply been hoping that you could—the two of you (or three, if you count your original self), be reunited. Start over. Pretend the first event never happened. You quickly remove all the barriers, turn off the alarms, throw open the doors, let the wind inside to rustle the objects inside your house. You even call the cops for posterity’s sake, but nobody comes. Nobody answers you back. Even the hope of becoming mediated deserts you. In the absence of context, there is no such thing as ongoing conditions. The woman tells you, “You’re not from here.” But the body is nothing without fluids (blood, semen, saliva) and even with them, you don’t totally believe it.
CRAIG FOLTZ is a writer and multi-media artist whose work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published three full-length books of prose / poetry (two via Ugly Duckling and one via Compound). He currently works and lives on the slopes of a theoretically dormant volcano on the West Coast of New Zealand.