For the kiddos
Let us consider sex, humans, forks, knives. I can't sleep anyway, even at night. Let's slow down. Let's count the folds in the curtains, the light that isn't shining through. It's not dark enough.
Note my roots, my hard heart, my crack-pot father. He was an Elk.
Consider how I lost weight by paranormal means and made heaps of cash repeating how I did that, heaps of cash telling my story over the radio waves. Ever since I lost my job at the important hospital I have searched for a way to make my own money. I am making my own money now.
So now what? My basilisk refuses to eat. I'm weeping. If I enter the land of slumber she may decline. She may die. If I sleep it is also possible I'll be able to eat as many pork chops as I like, but what will it even matter if I can't remember eating them and I lose my basilisk?
Consider my life, and learn. Exhibit A. An imp in my water tumbler leaps up onto my shoulder. He has a leafy celery nose. His graffiti face is surprisingly complex. I am clutching this imp's knitted goods, which he is trying to seize away from me.
This is all happening right now inside my human house. The ceilings are blown out, the curtains azure. From speak-easy days there's a painted upright piano. Staying inside all day used to be such a joy, wearing a taffy-tie and a slipper of green cheese, reading The Pickwick Papers.
All of these shelves were once alive with books. Books are humming "Moon River" because they can't remember the exact words. A child is drowsy. In her own way, Judy Garland is still with us.
These things are alive: album covers (especially Sketches of Spain), signed promissory notes, peeling remnants of life. After a lot of intense physical therapy my knee condition starts to get back to normal.
I make wall shadows with unceasing, deft hands. I could quit everything by cutting off my hands but I don't. If I cut off my hands I wouldn't be able to nervously fiddle with my wedding ring. But hey, you sometimes do what you have to do (for the kiddos). For now, I just want to stay awake, to keep tomorrow at bay.
Valerie Fox has published or has work forthcoming in Philadelphia Stories, Cleaver, Across the Margin, Hanging Loose, Sentence, Cordite, Juked, and other journals. Recently, her chapbook Insomniatic was published by PS Books. Much interested in collaboration, she published Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon, a compilation with Arlene Ang, with Texture Press. She lives with her family in central New Jersey, about halfway between New York and Philadelphia (which is convenient for her theatre-mad daughter).