“Reaction to S. Cearley’s Creation” by John Dorroh
I am swimming through water, no, blood that is thin like water, its salt diluted, unable to nurture the cells, the tissues, the organs.
It is unfair to have such a life tempered with anxious abandon, reeling forever loose
into a cacophony of pity.
Even water sheds tears, and so it was with our crew, that pitiful facsimile of a human being,
his twisted toes long overdue for amputation;
a captain in name only for his attempts at lending support for crew or passengers
I ate rats once a day, long gray tails that hung out of my mouth like a tough, fleshy rope,
followed by precious water
water without salt, such a rare commodity and it was rumored that urine could be treated
and drunk with only mild effect.
The balance of power is such a non-existent commodity on a craft like this; its sails full
of holes, no attempts to sew,
to block wind that no longer blows hair – too matted from salt of sweat and dead skin,
no bathing chamber, no closet for heavy hearts.
I was beaten by a ragmuffin of a man, spat on, pissed on, kicked like a sack of rotten fruit.
I am sixteen, barely a man,
and wondering if this trip is worth what is happening to me. Mt dear aunt, I think, is being used
below deck for unsavory purposes.
How can a God be present? How can such a test be within his jurisdiction? It is the devil
here on this ship,
the devil for sure who plays his role like a stable genius, who demands to be revered and
adored and worshipped.
I cannot bow down to such an entity and live with myself. I am smitten with the essence
of a cockroach who keeps
me company and eats the dead skin on my exposed ankles. I pray that his offspring
find their way into the mouth of the captain.
I find sleep now, perhaps forever, my weak body purging itself up through the clouds
and with one last surge of energy
I push against the wooden siding and pray that I will pass through whatever gates or curtains
are available. I am spent.