Vo l . 5 N o . 1
Vivian Faith Prescott
Amoeba I sewed rank bars on your hat, your name above breast pocket. And with one dog tag woven in boot lace, another on neck chain, I wrapped my arms around you, aware of your cell body floating in cytoplasm, false-footed and spined, locomoting plasmasol through your center. They say when the amoeba is touched, it changes shape—a star with long pseudopods reaching to all directions. So I imagine the moment when you’ll finally arrive home after free-floating inside the weight
Ghost Palm Fronds
of heavy desert camos. Will I sense changes in the filaments of your cytoskeleton,
Waveform of Silence
feel familiar hips rising above me, finger hair-whorl patterns, trace formlines along your ribs when plasmagel transforms to plasmosol, moving side-to-side, as I shift your fluid self to solid shape again.
You came back from the dead with stories dangling from your dog tags. And each night you performed your ritual.—hung your dog tags on our bedroom doorknob then climbed into the bedcovers. And each morning after you showered and dressed, you put those stories on again, saying nothing. But you did speak of it, really. I heard it over and over again, that one story hung on the chain like prayer beads, clinking against the door each night with every breath, every rattle of wind and house, the story you whispered in your sleep about the soldier on duty in the guard tower—the only one you could not save. He shot himself in the head during his watch. And who was left to find him there? To check his pulse, to gaze into those wide-open green eyes, sense the formless heat that was rising just then above Kuwait? No. Not you. You were chasing cockroaches from the corner of the room where you slept, waiting for the ping on your computer notifying you that I was calling on video-chat, waiting for my face to appear, for the sound of my voice to frame the world of sand and cockroaches, the raw sewer at your feet, and the red mist on the guard tower’s walls.