Monday, February 16, 2009

Interloper

There's this thing that thinks behind my thoughts. On those days when the earth shivers violently and the atmosphere is the sharpened black of pencil lead, the thing awakens. It slides out from between the gray folds of its cave, and it settles itself behind my eyes. In the blackness of midnight, it cuts a slit in the back of each orb and then uses a straw to suck the color from the world, one drop at a time, out from the back. Then it closes the slits over with despair like plumbers putty. Sometimes this patchwork leaks, and I awake to a pillow full of anguish. When my hands crack and my blood floods the mesas and gorges of my desert skin, the thing slides into these rivers of dust and delights in lost tubes of cortisone. It twines its tentacles into the meat of my shoulders, and twists them around until they are taught and I feel the tension in my tired eyes. Loved ones eyes scan my possessed frame and they ask me how I'm feeling, suspicion permeates their concern. Then the thing tugs again, and my shoulders mimic a shrug. I can't cry out for help, because the thing is my tongue and it flaps in the sharp wind. Nothing can kill the thing, but when the earth ceases to shiver and the sky drips sludge and heat, then I'll feel its parasitic hold peel back. Slowly, one tentacle at a time will let go of my muscles and retreat to the cave with its black thoughts. When the robins return, the color comes with them, brown at first and broken, then green with the bulbs, and finally blue like an angel. When again I see blue, I'll know the thing sleeps soundly, and so will I. My pillow will harden and dry. I'll think about running away before winter, but in the haze of blue and the smell of nectar, I'll forget until it's too late.