there is a pinky finger in my mouth
i realize this standing before the mirror
to brush my teeth, after another night
of diving into puddles on the concrete.
i spot the pinky finger protruding coquettishly
from the depths of my throat,
my cavernous maw. i sigh wallahi,
all a pit is good for is to teach the velocity of escape.
with purpose, i set down my toothbrush,
reach my hand into my mouth, grab the pinky finger.
remind myself: you are too small for this.
you teddy bear, you misbegotten. you duct tape
and spittle. give up your ghosts again, today.
squeeze, pull. out comes the pinky,
then the hand, the slick brown arm, the smooth
shoulder. the beard, the crumbs of food still lingering,
the eyes glued shut. frozen, he and i, my jaw split open
like a melon, or a pez dispenser. his head poking out,
the tongue of the iguana. we are a picture of the hybrid.
shrugging, i draw out the rest: his drum skin,
his spindle legs. the fullness of him, the weight. out
he comes, today’s bile. i spit the last of him
onto the floor. for a moment i truly believe
he is breathing again. i truly believe that this time i carried him
back into the world. my saliva a snake oil that worked.
but he does not move. i shed a single tear,
relocate my jaw, brush my teeth until my gums
bleed, listerine until i can’t feel a thing. pick his body up
give it a kiss. habibi i’m sorry.
wallahi, i tried to teach you but i did not know the language.
set him in the corner, on top of all the others.
maybe tomorrow, for once,
i will wake up empty
Fargo Tbakhi (he/him) is a queer Palestinian-american writer and performer from Phoenix, Arizona. He is the winner of the 2019 Ghassan Kanafani Resistance Arts Scholarship. He is a Pushcart nominee, and his work is can be found in Cotton Xenomorph, Mizna, Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass: a Journal of Poetry, Peach Mag and elsewhere. He tweets @YouKnowFargo and probably wants to hold your hand.