I want to die the way my dog sleeps, In Gratitude of the Strange Phenomenon of Reynaud’s, It doesn’t spell disaster


I want to die the way my dog sleeps

__________________

—a tiny, take-up-no-room-curl.
I want to live like him, too,
rising twice or thrice a day,
a lift up from a stomach,
a grin to an n,
a head-to-tail unfurl
to a laughlined, smiling u face,
an l for a tail that (with a bolt’s click)
triggers a merry metronomic tick
that trots my rhythm out a door,
where I wander, mark,
causally claim,
a chunk of bark
and a few blades of grass,
breathing in the glorious world
before sauntering back to that door
with a noise in my throat
a warm hand on my neck
and an oh-wow-what-a-way-
to-get-at-that-itchy-underskin-patch,
and then—with one gulped explosion
of taste and a bowl full of coolness—
the action ends
with a nonchalant stroll
back to my bed, where
I neatly collapse, twist a little
and a little more,
turning and turning
and turning and turning
and, yes, turning and turning,
spiraling down and down
into the teeniest, tiniest
take-up-no-room-at-all-curl,
until there is no more
Andrea, just a plain
old sleeping ball
of lower-
case
a.
 

In Gratitude of the Strange Phenomenon of Reynaud’s

___________

This living hand, now warm and capable,
is not so on some days. On colder days
—and sometimes on hot ones—my fingers
become ghostlike, corpselike,
zombie digits drained of blood,
and yet are attached to my body still.
I blow on them. I put them by the fire.
I plunge them into bowls of boiling water.
I urge them to live!
And sometimes they say, okay,
we will not die today,
and tingling bloodlife creeps back
along veins, and then I am the
bearer of two hand-balloons
filling with red air,
subtle and warm,
warm and capable,
up for the fisted fight,
and once again I am reminded:
I am alive but all of us
are running out of time.

 

It doesn’t spell disaster

________________

Look at that sad case
of an o lying
by the side
of the road,
like a flat tire
rolled from a car—
and that other o
half-filled as if
gasping for air
in the despair
of a too long run.
And that v?
See it tipped and lonely,
useless as a flipped
table. But that ə?
Perhaps it harbors
some gasping “uh”
even as it hangs
like a forgotten hook
from a ceiling.
But that antenna of a y—
it can’t get any signal at all—
and that u
has rocked to a stop,
where it leans with exhaustion
as if abandoned in an alley,
left to idly catch rain.
But the L, you say, is made-
of-concrete-and-wood—
a crate lift of Barthean expertise!
I watch you grip the handles,
and, like that, factory doors slide open,
and together we step into the ratcheting,
uprighted, spell-it-anyway-you-like noise.

Andrea Witzke Slot

Winner of Fiction International’s Short Fiction Contest and Able Muse’s Write Prize in Fiction, Andrea Witzke Slot is author of the poetry collection To find a new beauty (Gold Wake Press, 2012) and a recently-finished novel (now under representation) titled The Cartography of Flesh: in the silence of Ella Mendelssohn. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have been published widely, including in Bellevue Literary Review, Adirondack Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry East, Measure, Southeast Review, Nimrod, Fiction Southeast, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and in academic books published by SUNY Press (2013) and Palgrave Macmillan (2014). She lives between London and Chicago.