by Jie Venus Cohen


Today// I called The Surgeon from the fantastical - hellscape:zoom, a program that I access with shaking hands and collapsing spirits, subject myself to another conversation, staring at myself in the camera-window, ignoring the expressions of the person on the other side, staring at myself with vague curiosity// That is me// I exist right here? The Surgeon studied every inch of my body, slid his scalpel-sharp eyes down the curves of my heavy limbs and calculated each incision, cut cut, snip cut, tuck, stitch, franken-venus he could make me// The Surgeon tells me all of the beautiful things that he can do to my body, ease my pain and make me normal looking//give me please normal limbs give me please no more pain give me no swelling and give me no loose-stretch-skin please give me the end, he can, he will schedule now, money later.

Life does not work that way.

                                  The Surgeon invites me in, across the country- haha!
Today// I called The Insurance Agent, a conversation I accessed with hypothermic lips and goose-prickle flesh because I knew that I would end crying the chat, end wondering about the state of my existence// This is me but// I do not exist to you. The Insurance Agent has a voice like sandpaper and coffee beans like the rusty shovel used to dig my little body up from the ground in Austria like the sweetest grandfather who was strangled half to death and survived but is broken now and cruel he has a voice like he wants to kill you like he will be overjoyed by your death because he successfully blocked another incoming company expense I ask with shivering tongue if The Surgeon cuts me can he please pay for the salve that will cover my wounds will he please use his ability for good to do good   and      not      for     evil     this     time,       for        me

The Insurance Agent smiles sleazy with his voice and his tongue does not shiver it slithers// through the holes in the phone speaker slithers through the 4g towers slithers in through my phone speakers

Slithers in through my ear and settles

                                  in my throat catches it chokes me- haha!


This poem originally appeared in Fahmidan Journal.

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