You are telling me about a man you know who lives deep inside his medicine cabinet.
He is not a man so much as an arrangement of blue ghosts.
I think I have heard this story before.
I like it. Please continue.
I am watching your lips move. You drink from a large glass bottle. There are wooden ships inside the bottle. You put those ships in there a long time ago. By now I know everything about you. I know that the next word out of your mouth will be pomegranates. You say it as loudly as you can, but I might not be listening.
You don’t know this yet, but you will be gone soon.
There is the familiar sound of wolves & horses getting drunk outside my window. Someone in this building keeps flushing the toilet. I cannot sleep. I imagine you as a tornado falling down some stairs. Life, I decide, is often unfair.
I am twenty-five years old & all my teeth have fallen out.
Have you seen them?
Did you put them in your purse for safekeeping?
I take pictures of some objects hiding near my bed. My phone looks up at me. There was that one time you told me that my phone looked old & vengeful. I told you it ate other phones, smaller & weaker phones. Sometimes I look at my phone & it gets real quiet & dreams about dying & turning into a small black rock.
I put a cake in your mailbox. A small bone is baked into the center. You tell me you really appreciate the gesture. I think you’re probably lying. It’s something about the way your face peels from you & flies into the air. We blow out all the candles. You remind me that your birthday was actually two months ago. I fill my mouth with the leftover candles & climb into a tree.
I have not seen you for weeks.
I recognize your outline along the floor & ceiling.
I put something in my mouth that is roughly pill shaped. It’s not a pill, just a small egg someone painted many different colors. A family of birds grows up in my stomach. Their beaks are made of charcoal. They make long sketches of you & pin them to the walls.
My blankets are shiny black ropes & balls of twine. They are warm & they are made of you. They are you when you wear your hair down & there is wind. I send you a message. Follow me into the box spring it says. We can be all the knots.
I live in the desert.
Now I live in the ocean.
You have decided to start a new life inside an old tree. You tell me it has character, compare it to an abandoned hotel like in the movies. Sometimes I wander through the woods & people take my picture. I carry an axe. My body is covered in other people’s hair. The pictures are all blurry but show up in the tabloids. You fly away to older, more hollowed trees. I become an urban legend somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.
I get so thirsty I start floating inside the stained glass aquarium I built to resemble your face & hands when viewed at a distance & only from the proper angle.
Try to love me in an angry way.
I hear a familiar voice in my phone. Come find me it says. Where are you calling from I ask. It says I think I am in the wilderness. I stick my head out the window but all I see is a boy tied to a tree. He throws pieces of bread in the air every time the wind goes by.
I teach a horse to read & my life starts to seem purposeful.
Every day now I eat my lunch by the side of a river. My legs look like sticks & I bury them under the water. It is cold in there. There are little fish swimming in endless circles. I am confident that if I wait long enough they will come up to me & their teeth will pick my toes clean.
Thank you I will tell them.
They will smile politely but not say much. They will put the water in their pockets & start walking along the beach.
We will make sure to head in opposite directions.