Psychopomp Magazine Summer 2015 - Page 27

Lisa Nohner | 27

you’ve learned to make. You point urgently to your feet, the inflamed stumps everyone wants you to walk on, and collapse back onto the bed.

They don’t care at all; they call you lazy gypsy girl and wrench you up. Their hands are slick with creams they slather roughly up and down your naked body. They prattle on about things you don’t understand, about fine china and heirs and a thing called “princess etiquette” as they strap you into coarse, impractical fabrics. They fix your abdomen in corsets pulled so tightly your organs threaten to escape from either end. Their fingers snag your hair and bind it away from your neck. In the mirror, you can’t recognize yourself. There is only a human, placid in appearance, burning with a rage she cannot speak. Your honks are all you have, and they are not enough.

Too, the Seawitch did not exaggerate: walking is Hell and therefore, running is impossible. Even standing is a chore. Every bone in each foot hates you, wants nothing to do with you. They roll against each other, scraping your muscles, snapping and popping arthritically. Each step brings tears to your eyes, and these tears are so unsatisfying—nothing substantial about them. Unlike the pearls you know, they just drip from your eyes, absorb back into your skin.

It is fortunate that Erol likes to carry you. He cradles you in his arms, tells you stories about his privileged upbringing: the girls you could care less about, the horses he’s owned, the sailing adventures he’s had. You nod and beam at him with enormous, admiring eyes. But you care much more about his soul than these tiresome narratives. Where is it? Does it hide somewhere inside him? Behind a lung? Buried in a ventricle of the heart? Perhaps in the soles of his feet?

Sometimes, Erol wheels you around in a silver chair. It’s no struggle for him. Eating without your tongue is a disgusting activity, so you almost never do. You love water, even the filtered drivel that comes from the faucet. You take a bottle of it with you everywhere, sucking it down greedily. It makes the air less harsh, reminds you of home. Whenever possible, you avoid your reflection in the marble, in the windows. Your bones threaten to puncture your skin. Your thighs do not touch and the base of your ribs protrudes further than your breasts. Dinosaur girl. Shorn reptile woman,