I awaken to exorcism !!! a terrific mess ! ! ! hungover sucking on pennies tears and snot drool into my ear as if I’ve been sobbing into the wind I wail the wail of animals and children wail as other forcing release everythingeverything wanting out of me on the kitchen floor I decide I am a stranger some woman who’s broken in in search of a suitable place to disintegrate. She leans against the cabinet and clutches a water glass with both hands. Her eyes are swollen, her face hot; her weeping is making us dizzy.
I sit with her. I tell her about the frog in the YMCA parking lot when I was a kid, how a car tire flattened it tail to head so that its intestines spewed out of its mouth and how I still think about that a few times a year.
I tell her about my affinity for the verb “dust,” because it can mean both to apply and to remove dust, or a dust-like powder, to and from a surface. I wonder aloud if “gut” could also function in this duality.
When she speaks, she says,
I feel the belief enter my body
the thoughts I have been battering my brain with infiltrated
settled in flesh and I learn I didn’t really know what belief meant
until now it makes me cry and cry out makes me
heave weakens my shoulders makes them shake
makes them feel papery and light like crystal ironically it feels like a purge
or a ridding an ugly cleansing maybe there isn’t room
and it has to replace something can beliefs be dormant?
maybe it is a reawakening maybe its last activity was in some past life
and I inherited it but am only now experiencing it as this person
Because I do feel like I know it.
But it is very old Something of the earth
and not just mine.
Turns out all her tenets are garden-variety: I am
alone I am not enough for anyone or for myself I do not belong in the world I do not belong
Frankly, I tell her, you’re a late bloomer. Most of us have committed to these truths by now. They live in our bones, in the flesh of our tongues, woven into our intestines. I myself keep them etched in my stomach lining and the soles of my feet. You might prefer to grease your throat with them, or steep your liver. Make them a home and find more worthwhile, less self-important concerns.
Her wail turns hack turns retch. The bathroom tile is cold on our knees now.
Be sure to compare it to exorcism, she spits.