I wasn’t dead. I wasn’t in Hell. I was still on this Earth. I was nearly broken in two. I’d left the car far behind. I’d crawled on hands and knees, my body at a ninety-degree angle. I’d slumped within a crevasse in the earth. I hadn’t slept: I cannot sleep and I cannot tire. My arms had done the work of many men hauling my shattered body through the forest floor in all absence of light except for a slight glow both sourceless and nameless. It defined the shapes of objects but not the objects themselves: tree, plant, branch, ditch. I’d rolled into the ditch and thumped around in it until I was covered in dirt and twigs. From high above me droplets of hours-old rain pattered down through the needles and leaves until they hit me and drizzled off of my waterlogged clothes. My left leg bent forwards at the knee and the right half of my ribcage had collapsed. As I felt around my body I found my ear in my coat pocket although I hadn’t remembered losing it. I tried to put it back on and it just stuck there. I wasn’t bleeding, of course, but it stuck there anyway. Maybe it was the mud. As they searched the woods with flashlights and their dogs I still lay there, staring up through the branches as the sky turned from night to day to night again. I didn’t want to move; there wasn’t anywhere to go.
Now at peace I tried several times more to remember myself but I needed blood. I figured that I just needed some time to think, that I could manage by myself, but thinking was too difficult. A gentle whine, like the compressor of a refrigerator at night, stirred in my consciousness. Mud, water, the gentle caress, the color of hair and my mother, my father, tendon, the arc and then curl of a fallopian tube, mud between my toes, I am surrounded by leaves isn’t that something new, Lois’ body with mango-shaped breasts and stubble-coated vagina, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost again, still the Holy Ghost and the spectre of a spectre which was Liliana’s blasphemy Christ, Liliana’s corpse spilling with wasted blood her belly slashed open like a man’s idea of a gaping vaginal canal, everything leads back up into the uterus, the Holy Ghost pleads with me to confess all sin so I do but nobody can hear them so I promise to myself to confess later when a priest is in attendance but first I have to find a church but before I find a church I need to stop being a criminal, can’t be caught they’ll see me if I’m caught, they’ll try to poison me to death in Los Angeles but I won’t die, they’ll try to gas me to death in Nevada but I’ll breathe it in with a confused look on my face and say “Marzipan,” they’ll drag out the electric chair in Texas and maybe just maybe that could kill me just by shaking me to pieces that I can’t put back together, and then once they’ve hung me on a rope shot me and beheaded me they’ll set me on fire and when the ashes blow back together into the shape of a man I’ll crawl from the dirt and look up into a circle of unsympathetic faces and ask them “Can I just throw up the apple and forget everything all over again?”
The last thought I truly have before I get up and try to devour a stray dog is that the little girl who is my daughter in my memories her name starts with an “L.”