by Michael Díaz Feito

 

A frondy dog dictated to the things how to take my portrait (and Cnut, drooling sugar, videoed it):

“Clip wool turf, mower. Peel then white mold, knife. Gravel this happy ditch with limestone, pickaxe. It’s a skull, what we’re picking, and inside’s the mamey. Rind its sandpaper skin, or mind, using a fingernail. Only a little pith there — please, soap your cuticles anyway. Now the fruit’s open, breathing and rosy. Almond-oiled pulp, sweeter than a throb. But pit the crab claw stone first, because it’s the resistant heart. Then invite birds, blue jays or iron parrots, even if they won’t eat crudely. It’s a lure, and that’s the price.”

Everywhere the animals dug us up. They disturbed our sleep, and you pleaded (as you always did before school), “Five more minutes, please.” Mudsharks detected femurs in the seabed, and remoras slurped them for marrow. Opossums collected phalanges in their pouches. Anhingas dove into ponds and pierced brains pickled in peat. Pulling them from the water, they flew the mud-drip brains across the sky. Sun-bathing alligators with gelatinous incisors (so much like ruminants, except flesh-eating) admired these relics in transport, and some mulled the bigness of geological time, for example:

“Do you remember the TV?”

“Remember the TV?”

“At the dawning of the fiscal year, a new LED-backlit LCD fruit flowered from the big corporate bud, and I’d say, ‘Consider the old TV. Obsolete bones, functional spirit. So where does it go?’ Moreover, they didn’t even stop to grieve themselves.”

“Grieve themselves?”

A third interjected, “Let’s be careful with transitions, like your ‘moreover,’ which killed off those people. Too many links and you’re sunk. Maybe the TVs’re petrified in guano, too.”

It was a clanging error of hefty echo to excavate us. The animals didn’t know. They weren’t like us then. Our gorgeous disease spread in whispers, a contaminating spirit, a luminescent rub for their pelts, exoskeletons, scales —

It’s not my fault. I asked to be cooked, or at least baked into gory muffins, in my will and testament, but banks of mold hoarded our papers and the digital rapture had already ascended our data to heaven. The animals scooped raw pulp from the mamey of me without respect for my request, which, being without reason and dead, I could no longer claim.

Blame for the epidemic of you and me found its way back to the frondy dog. He shifted it to the things who had obeyed his orders. Of course, things are never guiltless, especially tools. Their response was lackadaisical protest: They dragged their handles in the dirt. “Fine,” they said, “we won’t work. But the spirit might be a blessing!”

I said the same throughout the happenings of my life. I wheelbarrowed myself to death anyway, just like the animals. (Cnut is called to testify. His video enters evidence. The prosecutor, to gasps in the gallery, hits pause on a single damning frame, in which the spirit’s emanation from me streaks like a neon marker across the screen. Cnut tries to affirm a yes/no question, but he is interrupted by a voice wafting into the courtroom. It says, “Genuflect, beasts.”)

 

*

 

Michael Díaz Feito is a Cuban-American writer from Miami, Florida. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flapperhouse, The Acentos Review, Axolotl, Big Echo, The Future Fire, Gone Lawn, and Milkfist. You can find more of Michael’s work at michaeldiazfeito.com and follow him on Twitter @diazmikediaz

 

 

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