shock box | by Candice Wuehle

a bag over the head is iconic. if you are thinking only of fashion who are you thinking for? when i was 13 i started writing with both hands at once so i could make something that touched itself in the middle. i became an angel. i put space between the letters of my name and my identity was then entirely composed of light. this is why i swallowed a phone and pulled the cord through my throat and mouth. i’m close to you, vince. when i replace my face with a circular mirror you’re inside me still. i am not in love with you, vince. i am convincing you that you are a body in a morgue acting as a patient in a hospital stuffed with doctors. when i was 13 i started writing with both hands at once so i could make something that touched itself in the middle. i became an alchemist. i made pure the gothic deep inside the erotic to compose the world entirely of mirrors. i’m calling you because you are inside of me.

 

i also need to tell vince that there is a jail built around the house. francesca already knows. i can’t tell yet if we are the same person. it has not become clear if my head really is the bag. let’s buy compression garments and see if we can squirm ourselves into the shape of each other. i also need to tell vince the jail is actually built around the hospital. they are looking to isolate the contaminant that turns the skin into black striped hosiery, the patterned veils, the eyeleted collars. they are looking to isolate and cure the anti-suckler, the color red. look me in the eye and tell me you don’t already feel squeezed. the ball python has a heart, too. how hard have you ever thought about what is inside you? a goat has more than one stomach: an extra chamber to chew what wasn’t chewn through and through. ruminant. vince, they can’t touch that. vince, that can’t touch that. i also need to tell vince the jail is actually built around the morgue.

 

they is a rhetorical construction. trick, trick. the speaker is the audience. there is a woman walking through the corridors of the mortuary humming something that sounds like bubbles of air bursting on the water’s surface. a mirror can redirect a beam of light but it isn’t interested in air. something i did not see must have kissed me very softly. did i want help? i do not think i wanted help. when they put my hand in the shock box i was not shocked but i learned what is a shock box and i made one in my mouth. i think we are more afraid of monsters knowing our language than we are of knowing the language of the monster. i made the jailers listen. it is 1979 and i killed mary jane shoes, i killed little girl voices, i killed demurring. i said i am actually all done with jail: i am now the gate.

 

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Candice Wuehle is the author of the chapbooks VIBE CHECK (Garden Door Press, 2017), curse words: a guide in 19 steps for aspiring transmographs (Dancing Girl Press, 2014) and EARTH*AIR*FIRE*WATER*ÆTHER (Grey Books Press, 2015). Her first full-length collection, BOUND, is forthcoming from Inside the Castle Press. Candice currently resides in Lawrence, Kansas where she teaches creative writing and composition.

 

 

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