a blue light shines on your face. it's like that
poem, of the two people who can't meet
each other because they're wearing
masks, or something. but you've got no
one to meet. you were collateral, like a
later addition to a show: not planned or
anything, just trying to keep things
interesting. you have to focus to fit in into
the universe they put you in. you hope it's
because you're cosmic or eldritch. your
parents are fighting. they have reason to.
you want to - and you desperately don't
want to - know why. you keep dreaming.
keep being a ghost. translucent, barely
there. impotent to change anything. pale
haunting. maybe if you see your blood
you'll realize you're alive. maybe if you
shatter your teeth or punch your thighs or
hit your head or pull your hair or. maybe
you can stop making your wrist hurt.
maybe you will scream and finally people
will remember what your voice sounds like.
maybe you will sing, and people won't
recognize you. maybe if you eat enough
sweet things you won't be a skeleton, or
bitter, and the pain will go away. maybe
you will be a cemetery statue and only
move when nobody's watching. two
i was fine yesterday.
i keep thinking of ways to cheat a lie detector.
they say to speed up your own heart when you're telling something true, to hold your breath, to alarm yourself. i can't do that.
one of the control questions is my name.
it comes up false. they try to deal with it.
then they try to ask am I a woman.
it comes up false. they dismantle the machine.
they ask, exasperated, am I alive.
it comes up false. "my heart is beating", I say - false. "i'm alive". false.
i start to say things just to know if I really believe them. "god", no answer. "love", no answer. "mom", no answer.
the skin in my fingertips have all been chewed off. anthropofagy, it's typically brazilian. i eat it until i have art to make.
my hand is nothing but bones, but that doesn't make much of a difference. they've always been cold and hard. not a hand to hold nor a body to hug.
i can't close my eyes because then everything's gone. i have to keep them open or i lose my body and i could never get it back. i lose my skin and my lips and my throat, in their own distorted haze.
the lie detector people are still there. they have started to study my process of decaying instead of the machine. it is me that they are disassembling. a neurologist finds me. apparently, they tell me, my cells have been eating themselves. my neurons are flawed - they don't call it multitudes, they call it contradictions. my blood flows backwards. my bones are brittle.
though, the only unproblematic thing became my skin. just right. fits like a glove. a great cover for my organs. in a heteromorphic colony, this would be called the disguise. everything working together to trick people around me.
i start thinking of myself as not dead but a body of tiny parts. atoms with differing goals. as I always suspected, there is no me. no amount of pretending to have favorite songs or colors or books was going to earn me a self, anyways.
it has been years. i am not in the surgery table anymore. i'm the only scientist here now, - I ate them all - naming and categorizing atoms in vain.
the novelty has passed. i have grown accustomed to relating to AIs and Frankenstein.