Artemis Drifting

Just because she tippietoes, doesn't mean she's a creepin'.


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Absurdity once again strikes, needling me in the back of the head when I’m positive it’s cold enough outside to reassure me that reality is some serious business.

Not that I’m saying having my nose frozen is a good indicator that we’re not our own illusion, but the helplessness we suffer over the involuntary nose dripping does give pause to one’s confidence in our own control over bodily functions.

I think of the way I titter at permanent markings – the wobbly inked tattoos, grossly stretched piercings and keloid scars of enraged youths.  Doubtlessly, these people confront their decorations every day – whether by mirror, rolling up a sleeve or the second-look-head-snap of a gawker.  

What do I got?  Hypocritical hoops.  Twin bands of metal that wrap around my all too large left ear, capture beads securing them from any spontaneous itch to remove.  One, to love – the other to contain love.  The steel has become fingers in my lifebloods stream, doing what they can to slow the furious rush down just a knot or two.

But the most important reminder is the triangle of twisted white flesh at the base of my thumb, the raised blemish that has been with me for over thirteen years.  The day Otis died, when my flustered parents did all they could to shield me from his mangled body, all my concentration – truly – was on the last thing he ever gave me.  It was a gouge from his dew claw, where he jumped up onto my hips and danced with his thick mottled paw pads between my naked bony feet.  I went to push him down and then away in disgust once his eagerness left my skin split and blood running.

He was gone when the wound was still raw and angry.  He was rotting, his fat fuzzy belly distending and straining as my cut knitted and scabbed.  So I began to scratch, like I could sink my own hands into Alabama red clay and rescue him from the worms.  I pulled at the scab, I traded neosporin for lemon juice and salt.  As the maggots found their way around the deflating orbs of his eyes, skating across the foggy lenses – my cut filled with the sap of scar tissue.

Otis, the absurdity is this.  I did so much, and so little, to remember you – but in the end, the very process that consumed you and I fought to never forget will take me too.  I will become a viscous puddle of cells, and maybe, one day, the wound no one will want to disappear.

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