Sometimes when I think about myself, I see my body on the beach. Except there is no water. So I guess it’s actually a desert. I see my body in the desert, splayed across the sand and the sun is very bright. It is hot. It is so hot that my skin gets soft, a little softer, and then it begins to melt. My nose flops over first, and then my thighs go, and my breasts are dripping down in rivulets, across my ribcage, trickling down my armpits. My organs sludge out too, staining the sand wet, and then all that’s left are my bones. I am very skinny.
Sometimes when I’m having a conversation with someone else and it’s boring me or I don’t like where it’s headed, I think about grabbing the other person by the hair and bashing their face into the wall. It doesn’t matter where the actual conversation is taking place; in my mind the wall is always made of stucco. It’s cream-colored, the kind that is very common in the southwest. Their nose goes in first, and you can see the bone, the depths of their sinus cavities, and then their teeth chip away like lumber. The scalp separates and I am holding the bloody hair in between my fingers, wondering where it all went wrong.
Sometimes when I look at a cute baby or an animal I think about it getting run over by a train and the noise it would make.
Sometimes when I’m trying to fall asleep I think of a giant, ripping the roof from my house like a sardine can and plucking me off into the night. He takes me home and lays me out on a baking sheet and I am too scared to run away. I’m put in the oven and it is very warm in there and it makes me sleepy. I am left in there for a long time. It feels like decades. Eventually I am all dried up and crispy, so the giant takes me out and chops me into a fine powder and lines me into rails and then he snorts me.
Sometimes when I’m going to get crackers or cereal from the cupboard, I feel fear when I open the box and expect the container to be filled with maggots, with flies buzzing out. Sometimes I hold the box to my ear and shake it a little to make sure I don’t hear any squirming inside.
Sometimes when I’m on airplanes I think about me dying, because someone put arsenic into my coffee or something. I stop breathing and my skin turns a little blue. My eyes bulge. I am slumped against the window, and there is blood pouring out my nose. It stains the seat.
Sometimes when a friend calls me on the phone and they want emotional support, all I can think about is them in a wheelbarrow with me pushing. I’m running. There’s a lot of rocks in the road, and I have to work real hard to keep the wheelbarrow upright, and to not trip. I’m supposed to get them to the hospital because there’s sores opening up all over their body, but I’m thinking it just has to be too late. I mean, the sores are filled with pus already. So much pus. It keeps splashing in my eye.
Sometimes when I get real angry, it feels like the cells in my brain are popping and I get very hot on the inside. This causes me to take a step out of the anger for a quick second. I become concerned that this is what it feels like to spontaneously combust. Have you seen those pictures before? It’s usually a charred chair, next to it a blackened stump. I will look just like that.
Sometimes when I get in the shower I close my eyes and it seems like I’m no longer actually in the shower. I’m in an alley, and there’s a bunch of homeless men pissing in my hair.
Sometimes when I think about what it would be like to be pregnant, I imagine that instead of a baby growing inside me it is a very large worm but with teeth and it is chewing out my uterus. Nine months in, I go to give birth and all that comes out is the worm and its teeth and a lot of blood. The doctors still want me to nurse the worm baby, though. They cradle it and put it in a diaper and give it to me to hold and I am trying to say “No no no” but I am so weak from the birth that all I can do is whine a little. They fold my arms so I am forced to hold it and they latch it onto my breast, which it bites off quickly, and then it’s so close to what it was seeking the whole time, which is my heart.
But the funny thing is that whenever I think of you, nothing like this appears. When I think of you, I am helpless and small in your arms and you are stroking my hair. I am helpless and small but I feel very safe; with you I enjoy feeling helpless and small. There is a big big moon and stars dotting maps of smiling lions in the sky and you are singing. The melody causes us to drift up and float, higher and higher, and the stars swallow us, swallowing us in a way that will enable us to always be together, to never bleed or rot, or feel anger or pain, or hurt.
Juliet Escoria is the author of Black Cloud (CCM/Emily Books 2014) and Witch Hunt (Lazy Fascist 2016). She lives in West Virginia.
*this piece was previously published in Witch Hunt