Life and Death



by j/j hastain

When the moment for a meal finally manifests, its metabolism ravenously ricochets, physically increasing the size of the python’s heart in just a short three-day period. Enzyme-gush protects the heart from injury, and this occurs just after the python has engorged. The body is a green area constantly being affected by reddening.

When she and her lover were walking around that particular bend in autumn, after following miles of winding Colorado rivers, did they expect to come upon a bloated man floating face-down in the place in the river that had pooled? Pooled places in the river are the parts of the river that are decaying; unlike other places in it, the river can’t keep these pools crisp. Elementals are for insatiable witness of them: the compulsion to get involved. Codes are carnal ephemera.

The fact that there was not even a pause in her gait when she saw him there was surely indicative of something particular about the nature of her own pheromones and heart. She couldn’t keep her body out of this moment. She hurled herself into the stagnant water. She had been trained to bring air into moments such as these: not trained by paramedics, trained by shamans. How far back did her lover stand while the mosquito-wrought, algae-rich water stained the white apron she had chosen to wear that morning? While she sort-of choked on the imprints of decay? Did she prefer that her lover recede in this moment, so that she and the drowned could protrude together, possibly collaborate some form of life-giving magic.

Can the face-down drowned be brought back to life? Ask Ophelia. She pauses as she sees her. Says “Ophelia” to herself in her own mind as if calling for direction. She tilts her head up and into the flood of sun between each blow. Feeling the crunchy autumn air as drastic in relation to the sun’s sleek, she glows. Giving a drowned, bloat-bodied man mouth-to-mouth on a cool morning is a fragment. Fragments aren’t for misery but for mystics. Ultimately our enlightenment has to do with what it is that we did with the anxiety that we have had since before we were born.

Perhaps it was only after hours of private work, wherein he remained motionless to her breath, that she wished she were giving mouth-to-mouth to a drowned woman. That image would have been cohesive with her recent work with the goddesses. She had fantasized many times about making out with a goddess, even attempted divining ways to make that possible. Her gestures could be seen as a trust that Earth will speak to her moments by way of fidelity: a dynamic allegiance.

About the Author:

j/j hastain is a collaborator, writer and maker of things. j/j performs ceremonial gore. Chasing and courting the animate and potentially enlivening decay that exists between seer and singer, j/j, simply, hopes to make the god/dess of stone moan and nod deeply through the waxing and waning seasons of the moon.