I’m looking for alchemy. I want to transmute myself from flesh into precious metal. I want to increase my market value. I want to be around for hundreds of years, needing nothing more than a little polish once in a while. Fingers will caress my surface, eyes will appraise me. I would be able to dress up any occasion. I would be hard and shiny instead of withered and sickly. I would be able to hold my head up high in any setting.
The last council
You’ll never get that group together again, not after what happened last night. We knew there might be friction, but we hoped some good might come of it. Nobody expected the fat man to start throwing pies at the skinny lady, and for sure no one expected her to take off her pumps and start thwacking the tired hunchback on his head. That’s when the snakes were let loose, and this caused Elinore to pull the fire alarm. Unfortunately the mouse was trampled in the rush to escape.
Land opening into the east, there’s a bowl with hide sides on the west but the opening is to the east. I saw rabbits on the property and hawks flying overhead. There is no more land once you reach the Pacific Ocean, if you want to travel farther you have to go into space; that’s just what people want to do now, book a one-way trip into the stars. It costs all the money you have and more but where you’re going you won’t need money, no Walmart on Mars at least not yet it’s a sense of adventure that brought us here but now we’re pressed up against the edge and feeling hemmed in
I meant to take a big leap so that I would descend until my consciousness funneled to a small dot and disappeared so that there would be no one left to feel the impact but I miscalculated and instead I just fell a short distance and all the time I was yelling at myself about this stupid mistake and when the sidewalk appeared underneath me my bones felt a most unpleasant sensation of shattering
You’d think it would take the hint—we poison it, overpopulate it, store nuclear waste in its womb; we burn it; we siphon off all its water; we farm it until the topsoil is dust that blows into the wind; we overheat it; we buy and sell it as if it had no sentience. Still the environment produces. It’s as if it can’t help it. It loves us despite ourselves, and the worst we do, the more it tries to grow.
She’s driven by a kind of speed that comes from a supernatural source she can’t seem to stop herself and she’s always in motion. The light that shines from her eyes is not like the sun or the moon but like some kind of artificially generated wattage that makes you want to put on sunglasses or pull down the shades. There can be no darkness in her presence, only that relentless illumination that assaults the eye but doesn’t really shed light; it’s a demonic power.
I wouldn’t know how to measure the distance between the sun and the next nearest star. I figure if I needed to get to that star I would suddenly understand how to do it. I wouldn’t build a tin can and try to fly there. I would dematerialize and travel as energy and then could go wherever I want. Earthlings can be so literal and it’s too bad because we miss a lot that way. Big numbers tend to give me a headache. I’m smart enough but not in that way.
Terry Wolverton’s Sizzle & Chew appeared in Issue One. She is the author of ten books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, most recentlyWounded World: lyric essays about our spiritual disquiet. She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing studio in Los Angeles, and Affiliate Faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles.