ISSUE TEN | SPRING 2018
“About the body I know very little, though I am steadily trying to improve myself, in the way animals improve themselves by licking.”
—Renee Gladman, “Translation”
The moon is above me, the sun is below. I drive my car past the edge of Sea-Witch, where I live. I drive my car out into the middle of the woods & stop at the end of some old logging road. I can barely see my hand in front of my face after I turn the car off. I bought this car because I wanted to be able to sleep in the back. I was planning on living in it. I sort of did, but I spent more time in the beds & couches of others than I did sleeping in the car. I had sex with a lot of people. I didn’t have sex with them to have a place to sleep. At least not the first time. But sometimes I would see if a person I’d had sex with before wanted me to come over on a given night because I wanted to sleep there. I wanted to sleep with a person next to me. I think part of it was the fear of being left alone with myself. I don’t know where my head goes sometimes. Ideas can get strange. I was possessed by something once. Probably more than once. I came to the woods because I love how it looks and feels there. It provides context for me being alone with myself. Right now there are the smells and the sounds, but I can’t see a thing. It doesn’t feel like any context at all. I drove into a little useless pocket in the world that can’t give me anything. There isn’t really that much that can help you when the problem you’re having is inside yourself. There isn’t really anyone who can help you when the problem you’re having is inside yourself. That’s not entirely true, but the work, the solving that has to happen has to be all you.
I open my phone and point the screenglow out ahead of me. There is a shape in the distance. My car door dings as I open it & get out, then grab my keys. I don’t lock it. There’s nobody here. I am aware of my palms. I’ve been told I am “too aware”. I would agree with this. The shape gets bigger in front of me as I head toward it. I notice its edges. I’ve been told I notice too many edge—stop. I’vebeentoldI’vebeentold—stop. The shape’s eyes come out first. I have to keep resetting my phone so the glow keeps up. The eyes come out first in the screenglow & the shape is still. A living creature in front of me.
It says I held one of ourselves & watched her die. Her body grew fleshy tufts after five days. I have to find her body. Please return it.
I don’t have it, I say.
It approaches me & touches my body.
This isn’t about my body, I say.
Don’t worry, it says.
This one might actually be about your body, it says.
Are you dead, it says.
I don’t know, I say.
Are you dead, it says.
Are you dead.
I feel relief wash over me.
I am not dead, I say.
I kill the ghost in me.
Together we build a fire, myself & the living creature. Its name is Felix. Together, Felix & I build a fire. We take a book from my car & we pray to our ghosts. We find the ghosts in us that want to die. We tell these ghosts to go into the book. We tell them they can finally die if they leave us & go into the book. We then bless the book with offerings of our piss. We bless each other with offerings of our piss. We put the bookfullofghosts into the fire & watch the ghosts come out. The smell of burnt piss clings to our clothes & so we burn our clothes. We sleep next to each other in my car. We fuck a little, but that’s not the point. Our bodies are naked & touching but that’s not the point. We are celebrating hope for once. You found her body, I tell Felix. You found it.
Moss Hope Angel is a writer, artist, and amateur tattooist living in Olympia, Washington. She is the author of Sea-Witch vols. 1 & 2 (2fast2house, 2017), Careful Mountain (CCM, 2016), and Sara or the Existence of Fire (Horse Less Press, 2014), among other books. Her next book, Sea-Witch v.3, comes out in June 2018 from 2fast2house. Her work is published or forthcoming in Bettering American Poetry 2016, Puerto del Sol, Black Warrior Review, and Gulf Coast. She is online at undying.club.