Belly
Secretly I will tell you nothing.
I thought my eyes were closed but I blinked
and blinked
and pushed
my eyelids down
and up, up open,
and it was as dark as anything
and he was holding my hand— squeezing my hand—
and I was awake in the darkness of not seeing anything.
I was holding his hand, and he was holding my hand
and did he know I was me?
We had all climbed down
the shallow ladder
into this basement together,
but now I could only hear voices
and feel his hand squeezing mine.
Were we all down there together, all seven of us? still together? I could only
hear the few voices that spoke but if anyone else besides my mind
that voice
his hand
and the darkness
existed—
She was there too, her legs lay on mine
my legs crossed together
her’s on top
his hand squeezing—
I could not see and was so very aware of it:
of not seeing and aware of it.
The voices of laughter and hushes kept echoing in this
darkness
this belly of darkness
of a beast of something we had all crawled into
a beast of so many voices and things touching my leg and things squeezing my hand—
And there was light? not real light but something pervading my eyes
some warming glow that in the dark I could not see but which kept
pervading me. Kept me from
“I keep seeing light, I’m so freaked out, I keep seeing light—”
The voices kept talking, one was shouting but none
heard me speaking of the light, or at least
none spoke back
and this hand
it kept
squeezing
my hand?
his voice said something I have since forgotten
his voice said…something until— there
was silence, and the light in my eyes
and legs on my legs
and hand squeezing

A blue gleam of a phone flashed the room into focus
but only for a moment—only for that brief moment
that long moment of surreality
of her kissing him
and darkness
and him squeezing my hand
and her legs rested wrapping my legs—
did they know it was me there? that they were touching?
who were they touching? what was I touching?
am I feeling—
and I pulled myself away
into complete dark awareness
clutching at my limbs
to bring them to my chest to sit there holding
myself and the light in my eyes kept coming
and the voices kept swimming
and I did not know if I was
feeling alone in the
darkness
the belly
of darkness
in the creature of empathy
of hearing and feeling so much
of everyone but not sure where to place it
of not being able to place myself
in the empty of awareness of nothing, but—
Secretly I can tell you nothing.
It is an unknowing knowledge
to give this to you, to have you take this nothing with you
I hand you empty fingers and twisted wrinkles of thoughts unspoken
You handed me something but its weight was heavily lacking on my pink skin
the impression long and deeply disappearing
We needed this unwanted exchange
and in its coming I felt—
Secretly I want to tell you something.
Her legs were tugged up into
her chest, squishing her breast
down under her knees
hand enveloping her shins
prickled with unshaven black hairs
a liberal skin
dry and untended of lotions,
knees drawn under her chin
hiding the folds of her belly
tangled sheets and a bare mattress
beneath her sleeping
she would not have wanted to be sleeping
she would not have wanted to be seen
sleeping
she would not have— drool
a glistening bit slipped down her chin and shined its way
down into the green mattress sliding
shiny into the strange
plasticky fabric of the mattress she lay— she braced herself upon
naked:
she would not have like to be naked
perhaps she would not liked to have been seen naked
perhaps she would not like to have been seen at all
Secretly, its all I can do to tell you silence.
Do you not feel beautiful here? Do you not feel—
sweet crisp apple juice dribbles down my chin, my acne around my lip feels
funny as I lick
my tongue over the bumps so weird
to gather
that sweet honey crisp juice: to taste
maybe it— I’m itchy and my eyes feel groggy sticky
but I do not want to close them yet, I am not ready to close them, yet—
What do you feel here?
Secretly. Nothing.
Secretly, I feel secretly.
“The house was quiet and
the world was calm”
the word
was calm
spelled C A L M
emmmmmmm
mmmmmmm
like after the first bite into sweetness
satisfaction told to be denied for strength
of listening to nothing
and feeling soft
prickling somethings
all over my skin, my insides wanting
nothing but something
and feeling too much of my self
too much fleshy
too much flesh
to be felt
I wanted nothing.
Secretly, if I tell you nothing, will you promise to tell someone?
I promise, I will tell absolutely every no one.
And her legs, my legs
squeezing hands
silent talking shouting silent
wantings
someone speaking
my voice
me? his voice, wet with hers
dry with mine
squeezing my legs up into my chest
She was in darkness
of awareness and feeling everything of the nothing of that basement
and people were leaving, maybe she left too
maybe she left something down there
his hand
her legs
My arms holding my arms
I left climbing.
She left climbing
they stayed
in the belly
of her empathy
she—
I—
left with theirs
forgetting something
the light of my eyes now the light of a room
and the belly of the beast of empathy: a basement
and I was, she was, her legs his hand
reminders
of that nothing caring offering
to attach to some feeling
of awareness I felt too afraid to
see as fantasy
but never want to feel
as real the nakedness
of my flesh being felt by another
seeming too real
I want to be lost in their empathies of hands and legs and voices
but when I leave aware of
my—
Can I tell myself the secret I already keep knowable for everyone?
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