Friday, 20 May 2016

Sudden Prose Reprints: "Conspiracy to Commit Larceny" by Jennifer Militello

Conspiracy to Commit Larceny

She she she—at the crux of what hurts—(the police came)—thin hospital sheets—(the air in my lungs exhaling)—(their flashlights searched along the dirt for the criminal)—(I was up against the car)—(they were gathering my glances)—the hospital room and her unclean body—(they were collecting my wildflower looks)—my memories as I said them—(in my mouth)—(their voices without bodies)—legs could not support her weight—(I was the criminal)—(they said as much)—what she perceived—(the darkness of woods and a small circle of headlights)—she reached for me—she told me they had left her outside the hospital doors—(I am all by myself)—I pull her socks from her feet—her feet are stones—my temples throb—(the policeman hears them)—(he puts me in a cell)—(he puts me behind the thick glass)—(he carves my name into the ink)—(he carves my name toward the hospital’s room)—the nurses turn her body to clean her after she vomits—her pale thigh—her marbled skin—her inability—(I am handcuffed)—(my fingertips are stained with ink)—(I have my identity)—the hallway smells like trying to keep alive—this geriatric wing—unfolds from my body like a—(flashlight dying)—bulb drifting—(false battery)—the window out to the river—a slowing barge—(I dream of guilt)—(they take my shoes)—(they take my belt)—she takes my hand and tells me—speak—(I sign the paper that speaks for me)—(they read me my rights)—(they speak for me)—a sad green room—I see myself in the mirror—(they see me in from the other side of me)—(they read me the law)—as I read she sleeps—as I read I feed her something that makes her sick—(I roll from bed)—the thin sheets—the bulletproof river—(its bulletproof glass)—(my voice buttoned to one side of it)—she reads my look—I tell her—(the policeman takes my arm and makes me) look—criminal—and finds my wound and touches it—tests it with an open flame—it changes color in me—it is not mine—she is waiting—her feet are cold no matter what I do—and bloodless—(this place is unable to reason)—(unstained)—I rest my eyes—I am surrounded—(there is nowhere that is not this scene)—last glance at days that end—(they put me in the car)—(they call in my name)—her name above the bed is ending as I speak—I carve my name into the scene—(my hospital is not believing)—is my hope—my heart stopping when I see the moments—(the policemen say what I mean)—(and I am clean)—(despite the act)—(the theft)—the rain—(the last attachment they make to me)—(guilt)—in a world betrayed—by flesh—

Jennifer Militello
A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments (Tupelo, 2016)

1 comment:

Vasiliki Albedo said...

I think I have a new hero.