Atlas & Alice | Issue 5, Winter 2015/2016
them. They may not be much prettier than corpses, but that they keep living is deemed important. My lunch, kept in the break room, smells of dog food and hamster dung by noon inevitably. There are dogs and hamsters both in this office, and the shit from the hamsters sits around days before anyone dumps it in the garbage. I never volunteer to take the hamsters home on weekends, as others have noticed, because my apartment is surrounded by rats and I need no more rodents. I am waiting only for an eel to swim through this air and shock me breathless. This year, I didn’t celebrate or decorate for Christmas. But I bought a string of plastic stars hung on green rubber wire from the White Elephant. The White Elephant sits beside a Persian restaurant whose proprietor, Sahib, recently died of a heart attack, a waitress has told me. Each time I visited, he gave me free baba ghanoush, though I long stopped ordering it because I never liked eggplant to begin with. I’ve renamed several shelter dogs Sahib since we met, because I like the name as much as the man and his cheek with a mole on it, the same right cheek as mine with a hair growing out of it, a mole I’ll never have removed no matter how large it looks to a dermatologist. It resembles a darkened brain with no skull surrounding it. It has thoughts of its own, and I don’t want to disturb it. And I can untangle stars instead of going to the moon and back while staying warm inside my pajamas, stained with menstrual blood between the legs’ fabric. I’ve worn them several times in front of company and not been embarrassed, because that I live within this woman’s body is no secret. My eggs are bleeding out my uterus, and I am untangling these stars, which came knotted tightly as the nerves of a fish flashing with electrical currents.