by Sarah Dravec

We start the day with the word anti-possession,
the two of us carrying watermelon rinds
along the interstate to compost them behind
the hospital where we were born. Everything
in sterile plastic, including these watermelons
and the memory of our thirsty tongues
before we broke them open. The hospital has grown
old, trembling if you look on from the overpass
for fear of blending into the skyline. We have
no reason to go back, nothing to do but bury these
belongings and pretend not to look at one another.
In the city, there is an art gallery. Imagine standing
at an open window and yelling am I getting
your likeness correct at every passerby in turn.
Imagine going into the restaurant knowing you
will not eat until each waitress sits on the other
side of the booth and pleads, even touches your arm,
and says this is not, anyway, what is going to stop
all that miserable growling. Imagine the graffitied
schoolchildren in their mismatched desks turning
one faucet knob at a time until every rusted door
in the district is underwater, all with you just trying
to be left alone like a fire escape. We avoid the smell of fire
in the suburbs, the unscented candle that is always
burning in this endless room. There are still
these watermelon rinds, our hands sweet
with all this dried water, so we scratch our nails
along a mile marker that fades every minute.
Here is a strand of rubber that can never get us
anywhere. Someone else offered it as a gesture
of failure and happiness which is how I feel
about this whole endeavor and what I have to say
about anti-possession is that it has never touched
me in any notable way. We feel fatigue once we
reach the compost pile, and we dig until nothing
is recognizable anymore and place this filthy
confetti over our stickiness. Here is the hospital.
Here is the laminated bracelet that was discarded
the moment you stopped being an infant. Here is
a needle I removed from the other biohazards
so I could prick myself at this exact moment
in the future. I am open now. Here is your chance.
When have you ever had to make a decision
between cutting into a dense and rotting green
skeleton or me when I am perfectly willing to let you?
We all once were whole: the nurse technician
smoking where there is no streetlamp to lean,
the drug addict touching himself in the alley
to keep warm, the lights across the harbor blinking
the words fuck you fuck me so clearly you cannot
miss it. Here is one joy of a compost pile:
everything has to become clean. Now, no one's blood
is making anything else red, no loose teeth making
dots of night like black seeds. No blood is on any
other surface but my whirled fingertip, and you
are saying will you be in my body in a way that our cells
will always run parallel and we will not care for
the consequences. I am ready to not care for any
consequences. Here come the museum patrons
the waitresses the schoolchildren the nurse
technicians the drug addicts the people who live
across the harbor, and all of them are angry.
All of them thirsty for something sweeter than
water, but all you and I have are watermelon rinds
and seeping fingertips. Their tongues protruding
in ways we don't want to remember, their limbs
more incorrectly muscled with every step. Our hands
touch, right where the blood is, just when it is close
to becoming too late. If we are going to disappear
properly, I need you to keep touching me, and I need
you to yell with me. Anti-possession is where we
begin and what makes us want to climb a single tree,
to press lips against what is unfamiliar and pull
through these two rows of teeth and what we want
all together, that one nearing coastline that says
it is okay for you to go but it is also okay for you
to keep coming, keep coming in this direction
and touch something, let it touch you back before
you disappear and reappear in someone else's
shimmering pile of trash.