Organ by Genelle Chaconas
Editor Matty Byloos, Fiction, March 14th, 2017
"The joints of your knuckles slip inside the heat...."
The fold that opens asymmetrical around your fist would not have organically. It is the expression of its own solid muscular wet destruction, its own inability yet necessity to withstand. You imagine the photo from one of wars. Wars which now have no numbers, but are in continuity. This photo is of a bridge. The bridge faces both right side up and upside down, is twisted in the middle, and yet still intact. It has lost and retained its definition. But that’s a bridge not this. It purses at its edges. Careful it doesn’t break. The joints of your knuckles slip inside the heat. It clenches, not only from one position but many at once. You hesitate. You might never get it out again. It sucks you forwards. It isn’t the color or shape it’s described as. The translucent skin like a giant squid’s lucid with hallucination toxins. But all its succulence to whet an appetite. It puckers spits and licks its lips. It’s as though it could speak. As if it could press its soft jaws together, unroll the rug rough of its smoothrough tongue from its tenderloined palate, moisten its surfaces inch by inch. You could bury yourself wrist deep and farther within. Even to the limits of your bones. Would you reach the floor? Would you instead be pulled inside out by its appetite? And still it’s not stopped. You’re up to your elbow. Up to the joint. Have you ever felt it from the inside? The gardens of your veins reach out to thirst, to nurse in a fever vision greenhouse. Distend. Bend. Feel it pop from its socket. Every attempt to pull or push breaks the skin. Do not imagine the objects: paint stripper, lye, bleach, rubber cement, superglue. But they erupt behind your eyes like pop art phantasms They are more real than color can bring. You forgot that particular bright since you came to Plague City. It exists in nothing. You’ve forgotten what it stands for, what it represents, only that it is something more real than what your arm is in. Do not remember safety instructions. Subconscious emergency numbers won’t reach anyone. You have to pull. Have to give up the surface. Stretch. Give yourself give. Breathe deep. Prepare yourself for the sting which doesn’t come. In fact nothing comes through the anesthesia. You don’t notice the numb subtle murmur burn that has crept from the end to the joint. You pull the elbow out to reveal the stub already cauterized, already a pickled vestige soft painless quiver. The wedding band you never removed as far away as anything could be.
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Header image courtesy of Angela Buron. To view a feature of her photography, go here.
Genelle Chaconas is genderfluid, queer, feminist, an abuse survivor, underemployed and proud. They earned their BA in English with a focus in Creative Writing from CSUS (2009), then their MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University (2015). Their first chapbook is Fallout, Saints, and Dirty Pictures (2011, little m press.) Their writing is published or forthcoming in Image OutWrite, Crack the Spine, WomenArts Quarterly, Milkfist, A3 Review, Jet Fuel Review, The New Engagement, Sonora Review, Fjords, Calaveras Station, Bombay Gin, Primal Urge, Late Peaches: An Anthology of Sacramento Poets and others. They are a volunteer submission reader for Tule Review.