How good it is Epilogue: Hatchet Artisanship
The first time I tried to fit inside a box less than half my size,
I was playing hide and seek.
I imagined it would be as easy as contortionists made it seem,
Fingers folding into palms, forearms folding at the elbow .
But I couldn’t fit, it
wasn’t quite big enough for my wrists
so I broke them because I was a competitive child. (because immigrant children can’t afford not to be)
Since the point was hiding, I sharpened my nails to
press my brown flesh into the bark,
unthreaded all the strands of muscles in my abdomen,
hoping they didn’t stink like curried meat
(and yes, I felt a bit nauseous all the time, but when you pack a suitcase my father always told me to be mindful of arranging the space and so I)
squeezed my ribcage to deflate my lungs,
and carefully painted mehendi on my body mimicking patterns in the woodwork,
and (it’s lucky) blood dries brown giving me a broader palette to work with.
And I hid for yea(hours) –
without a calendar or a watch, sealed away in a box, it’s hard to tell time or who’s gone by
but enough passed for
my fingers dry to bone
loose and rattling, a skeleton in
a girl-sized leather canteen.
Enough passed for me to win
the game –and that’s the important thing
until I discovered I had been forgotten,
never sought out.
But by then, my lungs had shriveled to dust
and my heart had desiccated, drying into a walnut.
And slowly, slowly I could feel my skin turn
shadow-thin and my elbows and knees locked
And someone else was busy shaping the whole thing, me inside with a little hatchet, its edge made from my old nails so of course I had to wonder where he found them even while admiring his handiwork.
I was surprised of course, and tried to call out, but my voice box had long ago turned to pebbles
So I suppose all he could feel was them grating. So I tried to apologize, but I guess I just flung more pebbles in his face and, just as everyone hates furniture they stub their toe on, no one likes facial scarring from pebbles stored in a stupid wooden box.
And this little wooden box is
for a little wooden girl and
her little wooden thoughts.