Confront yourself — a dead-eye stare, a seeking stare, sharp and harmful. Isn’t it terrifying? The confessionals, the tribunals, the tribulation of it all — the finding clumps of clay in colors you don’t like, slumped in mounds around you and in you. Reach down; your dead-eye stare has hands and coarse fingers. Pull up clumps of gray clay — so much wet clay. Keep reaching — glossy pupils, dilating, fists down the nervous system and clay, clay, clay. There’s so much clay. You form deposits beside you.
Watch yourself. Watch yourself on the surgeon’s table. Look how two metal bars — hooked at the end like the letter “L”, cold as clams — press into the heart and pry it the hell, the fuck open. A pocket of black bugs (tiny moths, maybe) swarming out and up. Gaping doctors, shaken and so curious.
Are you a sacrifice? Imagine the pain; you’re pried open like so. Keep the pain’s strength but make it a dull pain, a dead-eye stare kind of pain, and there it goes. It stretches itself by waypoints north, a quick and dusty gypsy, and suddenly you are dull pain from open heart up through the neck and into those eyes — sad boy, how black they’re getting! — and into that smart brain of yours. (You were so clever!) And all that gray clay building mounds around you. Extract you like a quarry.
You are a constant, risky project. You pay well. All the weight dug up from you: it’s immense. And to let it fall in clumps is relief like cool water, sweet water on the tongue. The dull pain sits still. All you want is to love again. Look back, please; look back, please. Where did the sickness first gulp your air, becoming clay in you? Wonder if it matters. You are tied up so tight you haven’t tried to break yourself back open.
Someday you will fray yourself free, and you will become a muddy feather-looking-thing half-floating in the wind, half-caught up on the shore. This is your warning.
This post is dedicated to that constant struggle to dig up what’s human and make something of its hurt; it is especially for those of you who hurt often and deeply.