LXIX | Something To Remind You

I stare at him,
head spinning.


the room

is really spinning.

The flat carpet
is warped,

bent into mountainous waves,


all the

into the air

so they float around

like driftwood.

is still seated

in one of them,

to his own contorting face,

the taut line of his mouth

curling up
in a strange grin,


sliding off

his face,

staring at me
like I’m the one doing this.

I’m not.

I’m not!

No. Never.

Asher’s face
is glowing,

his eyes
focused on something behind me.

He’s not smiling—

almost like
he’s holding back laughter.

The only one

not shaken
by what’s
messing up our reality.

Even the easel I was painting on,
Tammie’s abstract face,

doesn’t look right anymore.

Her eyes are too distinct,

too dark,
too close.

There’s the smell of warm skin—
no vomit—her real scent.

And air freshener.

Her hair’s obscuring most of her eyes
just like in my painting

but her smile,

apologetic before,

is now open
taking a deep breath,

two jagged lines of red,

growing wet and warm,

tongue reaching out.


It’s over

before I can stop it.

A warm touch
on my lips.

Urei’s accusing eyes

from his airborne armchair,

blaming me
for his discomfort.

Tammie’s eyes are grey and flat,



on the canvas.

I can see them
only because

I painted them.

Asher’s also watching me,

his eyes
warm, waiting.



The voice that asks this
is unfamiliar,


Tammie doesn’t reply.

I try to trace
the faint smile
on Asher.


I’m imagining it.

The floor snaps back into place.

The armchairs are back on the ground.

Urei’s back is facing me.

still holding out

my brush.

The puddle of blue acrylic

has soaked
all the way

into the carpet.

I take it from him.




Blood rushes up his face.
He blinks

too much.


just wondered.


His eyes widen slightly.


Is it uncomfortable?


I notice
his voice is low.


No lisps.

No ring.


At some point,
a warm wet sloshing.

A memory.

It must be
a memory.

Tammie stays flat
on the canvas

so it must be,

a memory.

She wanted me to try things.

Something to remind me
how good

normal can be

when it hurts.


We tried “normal people things”

in the first cubicle
nearest the entrance
of the toilet of the empty mall
—no, that’s wrong—

in the last cubicle
far away
with the cleaner banging around next door
—no, wrong again—

in the haunted girl’s toilet
at school
with the flush that doesn’t work
—not that either—


Air freshener.

wood and musk,
sweet alcohol.

I can’t tell



No, I tell Asher,

forgetting his question,

all the wrong things.

But I liked it.




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