by Christine Tuhy
It was a mass of body parts, miscellaneous tissues, and blood. Grapefruit-sized, through some quirk of genetics or biology, a mixed message or a twin-to-be, one hell of a misunderstanding between my brain and my body, “complete” with teeth and hair.
Complete. What makes a thing complete? What makes it a fragment?
They pulled it out of me exactly six years, four months, sixteen days, six hours and forty minutes ago. I’m driving down the freeway today, whatever day, two thousand ten, wipers whistling and raindrops glistening, when suddenly it dawns on me—they pulled this out of me. What kind of circumstance makes this sort of thing peripheral?
Peripheral: of, relating to, involving, or forming a periphery or surface part (Merriam Webster)
About five men forced their way into me, and a semi-truck drove its way out of me.
I long sometimes for parentheses, because they’re neatly inserted and optional.
It occurs to me that they pulled a grapefruit-sized dermoid tumor out from somewhere in there (I didn’t even bother to ask exactly where) in pretty much the same way it would occur to me that I’d forgotten to buy tomatoes for my BLTs.
Theoretically, memories reside neatly within the parts of the brain they’re supposed to, instead of leaping out of the ears at the slightest strange scent or climbing roach-like atop a lover’s back to press a rough and hateful hand to your lips.
This monster beneath the bed is real.
I imagine that for you, or for “most people,” or for someone, somewhere, memories obey social customs—dress themselves warmly to rise like fireflies in the smoke of a campfire. They’re carefully timed, tissue at hand, for sofas and sad movies.
I’m the only person I know who doesn’t watch movies. The images assault. They hold my breath. I remember nothing that I’ve seen. Do you know how often movies come up in conversation?
I may as well live under my bed, with my impish devil secrets. (Devils eat and drink secrets—they slip them from the long, red cloth and nibble them demonically underneath the wooden table.) Secrets span the food pyramid and cross cultures and borders with ease. Easy to cross borders. It is. Easy to cross borders. Easy to cross. It is. Easy. Just tip-toe across the secrets laid like railroad ties across the rails of silence. Tip toe. Tip toe.Tip.
Under the bed of memory, in my brain now, those demons, their small bony fingers clasp pink erasers, frantically, fanatically erasing the boundaries of everything. Boundaries are imaginary. The ability to see this lies within every genius and every rapist. Erase you. Erase me. Erase every face for the threat of it and look how everything is seeping. Seeping, flowing, dripping like an oil spill into you and me and everything, birthing new colors, new themes, new abilities to grasp beyond the ordinary, the uncanny knack to know without being told how you take your coffee, to spot survivors like dandelions by the way they hold their bodies. I see tiny shadows that lurk behind their smiles when they turn their heads and I do something about it, too. I access the space where violence is nothing but misplaced souls. I can see the way that gentleness rocks anger like an ancient mother or like the tree tops in that song, ageless pine whisper to every newborn rapist’s ears.
I have become an eternal trespassing transversing run-on sentence, a bouquet of fragments.
When my body left me to watch from the ceiling corner, blue, I left behind forever the limits of objectivity, and its simple comforts too, remembered from my invaded womb that everything is moving.
We are whirring, spinning masses
inside whirring, spinning masses
atop whirring, spinning masses
in delicate motion around whirring spinning masses
and in all this whir and spin my friend forgive me if I forget your face for I’m distracted, yes
a thing or two is on my mind and yes,
just a bit
of a rough
Christine Tuhy is pursuing her Master’s in Creative Writing at Hamline University in Minneapolis, MN. She has been published in Rock, Paper, Scissors twice and in Clean Sheets Online Literary Journal. She has also participated in the Queer Voices reading series. She owns and runs Amigas Realty and is raising her eight-year-old son, Sam. She blogs and occasionally writes under the pen name Crissy Hope.