comes in a
handy cardboard box. I’m shrinking in my package. The box
is rectangular, blue, and grey. Mine is a yellow-pink not rosy, not
lemony, a watered-down orange, like the stuff your grandma used to make
on hot summer days. The blue is the colour of gym shorts, the grey that
of school socks. Mine is like Tupperware, filmy and opaque. The box has
two flaps, one on the bottom and one on top, both fit snugly into the
box. Mine hang over slightly, two rolls and a fork-drag of flesh.
Secured to the box on the outside by a two-inch long section of clear
adhesive tape, the bottom flap is just that. Attached to me is a
slither of skin redder than its surrounds. White writing describes
what’s inside. It ain’t pretty. Numbers on the box indicate the
strength of the item. Information proves it had earlier incarnations.
Ask my mother; my father says he has no recollection. On the bottom of
the box is a date in black ink. Cut me and I breed. Inside—like a small
hot-air balloon, a delicate gourd, a sore thumb in a cartoon, a newly
shaped but yet expulsed egg. Like a rotten fruit, alien meat, the most
disgusting thing in the zoo, an itchy need. If you pick it up between
your thumb and index finger, it is as cold and obscure as the sea. Or
warm but lengthening. Gold writing on the top is like a gilded aureole.
In its turn covered in fuzz. Its base is silver and winds around
itself. But not so you’d notice. The base of it is black then gold then
black. It’s purple and it seams and reams. It goes where I tell it. It
doesn’t care. It goes where I need it. It isn’t there. I cannot see
without it. Blind. It cannot be without me. Dumb. I make it live.
Stupid. I lift it towards its bed and turn it until it goes home. Carry
me with you. It has relatives you need to push before you turn them.
Push again. Then I bring it to life by turning it. It lives. It heats
as it glows. I stare. Now I can see inside, its lungs are tiny, and its
heart is tinier still.
Steve Finbow writes out of London, England.
He has worked for the poet Allen Ginsberg, the writer Victor Bokris,
and the artist Richard Long. His fiction, essays, and short plays
appear, or will appear, in Eyeshot,
3am Magazine, Yankee Pot Roast,
uber, Locus Novus, Dicey Brown, The Guardian Online, and Pindeldyboz. He
is currently working on a novel. (Yeah, right).
Ink Pot #5