I’m supposed to be the white picket fence so you can be the chain gate with gaping holes in several places; rusty wire cutters lying on the ground next to battered sneakers, used-to-be-white once upon a time. How can your branches thrust themselves further into the sky, somewhere amongst the clouds, if the trunk that is my listening ear and open arms is rotting from the inside out? These hands are supposed to ease the tension clinging to your temples, and to dissolve your fears in a big pot of jollof rice, or whatever you want to eat today. Let me know and I’ll make it for you, no problem. But my fingers are a paralyzed mess, condemned to an eternal state of arthritic immobility, and failure, and inertia. Nerve endings spark and short circuit, and die.
Please let go, I’m exhausted from the constant mending and molding. Frail-
you might break something if you don’t
I wanted to be a getaway, the sound of water playfully lapping at your feet- come in and play, the water’s nice and warm. I was going to be white sand nibbling at the soles of your feet; the smell of rain clinging to the ever-present red earth; blood orange juice dripping down your chin; the long-awaited embrace at the end of an airport terminal. But the water just turned into lava, the kind of terrible lake in which those who heaven shuns will be doomed to bathe for the rest of forever. The sand burnt your flesh raw and the oranges were crawling with maggots. You recoil into your cracked shell (a little or a lot worse for wear) and look at me with hurt brimming over in your eyes, what happened?
Please don’t touch, it’s not safe, I can’t promise that you won’t get burnt. I warned you.
I offered you sunflowers and warm sunlight washing over your legs, as the grass tickled your back. Or maybe it was an ant? But ants can leave vicious bites, and I’m sorry I didn’t know these flowers had thorns, evil barbed ones puncturing your finger tips until they bled incessantly. My light turned into a naked fluorescent bulb shining directly into your feeble eyes, a naked bulb in an interrogation room, the blinding flash before everything goes black.
I would’ve loved to be your support system but *buzz buzz radio static* we regret to inform you that factory flaws and operator error have led to widespread malfunctioning within the system’s parts. This plant is henceforth shut down until further notice; you will have to find another way to satisfy your needs. We advise that you exercise caution when consuming products manufactured here.
Consume at your own peril.
Be consumed at your own peril.
I warned you.