This light, white-hot and blinding enough to persist through the heavy cloth over my eyes, its pale refraction like silvered fingers reaching towards the back of their sockets, closing tightly around the soft jelly of whites webbed with red and pitch black pupils.
This light, switched on deftly by the nurse who sits at my right, she, with her slicked ponytail bobbing behind a baby-blue starched cloth headpiece, her breath coming through a surgical mask, heavy as fog on my exposed mouth and nose.
This light and the nurse and me, in the clean room that smells like terrifying probability, too clean to have history and too bright to escape.
And then she is gone, and the man is here instead, though he is a poor substitute for the nurse, who, even with her sharp tongue and moody brows, was a woman and understood that light is the enemy, has long been the enemy . The man, he is baby blue like the nurse, but he does not speak, does not breathe hotly through his mask, does nothing until his hands find my mouth and then, thick and calloused hands, a man's hands, they settle heavily,
I am lying on my back, spine protesting, all my soft parts showing, upturned like a turtle flipped over by a shark's nudging snout, about to be eaten and my bones picked clean.
His fingers pry at my lips, slip between them and my jaw is unhinging like a snake swallowing prey, stretched open like a gaping gashed hole, dark and empty save for a writhing tongue, a serpentine thing inside the snake, the woman's double for her toil and trouble. The man knows my mouth, because he has opened mouths like mine before, everyday since he got his license, and before that since he was
a boy aware of his power.
His fingers first, knuckle deep in the gaping gashed hole and prodding at the wobbling row of whitish yellowish teeth, standing upright like keratin soldiers, slowly toppling from front to back, as if eighteen and a half years of chewing have tired them so. The man makes a sound like his tongue clicking against his teeth, a sharp, snapping sound, as if indeed it is the chewing, and a woman's teeth should be pretty, like her,
for why would they be chewed out? A pretty woman eats like a
snake, swallowing little things without the ugliness of gnashing.
The man is looking at me now, though my eyes are covered and my mouth now whimpering, I can tell he is looking to make sure that yes, this thing with ruined teeth, this thing that chews, it is a girl, but if so then- ah! there it is!
she just isn't pretty!
He removes his fingers, and the rubbery taste remains but the hole is empty once again, and the ugly girl-snake who isn't girl nor snake is closing her mouth, finally relaxed, ready to slither away, to the nurse or to home she isn’t sure,
the coldness of an unnatural thing sliding under her tongue, until the neck snaps back in a recoil, the movement sudden as a loaded gun. But this girl is no gun , she is limp and unfamiliar and faceless under the snow, her eyes taken by the reaching light, and the doctor is free to prey upon her pliant mouth, the tongue dumb and lifeless, a deadening pink, and the cold things, the metal things which he wielded defensively against the gaping gashed hole, were now clawing at the keratin soldiers. The unfamiliar scrape of that silvery knife inside a once-warm mouth echoed down her esophagus,
ringing into her flesh, then bone, then something in between–
somewhere inside her, me , knows the doctor's tools in the man's hands are as strange, invasive, as something phallic and male,
this surgery is a blowjob,
somewhere inside her, me , knows the girl isn't a gun, isn't a snake nor a girl, but a creature from the deep sea, as all women once were, and still are. A creature with a tail and fins that never knew the
ugliness of crawling
or the lowly nature of gravity,
a creature of the dark, with scales like gashes, screaming in the light, the
enemy . A creature with fangs, toppling keratin soldiers and a writhing tongue, a mouth crafted to toil, to trouble the male unfamiliar.
But in this light, weak in the sterile room, her spine crooked on the table, eyes dried out, entire body a gaping gashed hole, throbbing under the man's cold metal tools and heavy snow hands, she is nothing but a girl, begging silently for her mother, her creature sisters, her ancestors, the nurse, anyone, anyone to take her away.
In this light, I am nothing but a girl,
upturned with all her soft parts showing,
mouth ripped open and bones picked clean.