The Abacist

South America
we’re up so high
a kind of disintegratory layer
some alchemist’s dream
elements penetrating each other
a stink of stone
flows from the window

I’ve been sick a week
my flight left
the only person who speaks to me
is the maid
the one who found me
legs in the bathroom
curled around the doorframe
a centipede
too stupid to die
after some kid pulls off most of its limbs

pain nailed to my spine
something has a firm grip on my scalp
is pulling out my vertebrae
scraping a furrow in my skull

every night there’s music
cheerful chuckling
a comfort as I vomit
the weak tea and broth the maid brings
at least I think she’s the maid

she wears a black dress to her knees
soft shoes that grasp her ankles
like a toothless mouth suckling a teat
her hair grows down to her eyebrows
she speaks to me at length
sometimes I wake up and she’s holding my hand
she wears red and gray stones
a kind of rosary with no crucifix or cross
she flicks the beads along the string
an abacus she tolls with surety
while she murmurs a story of lull
with me at the center as foggy day
melts into night
and she is absorbed back into the room
my hand growing cold
and the agony in my bones
pulling me stiff
on the stony hard bed

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a poet from Seattle Washington USA. His poetry has appeared in print in publications such as Bellowing Ark, Point Nopoint, and most recently in Contraposition magazine. When not writing poetry he is a Human Resources professional, a repentant glutton, and a novelist specializing in the weird-fiction genre.
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