You’re a little buoy bobbing around in an amniotic basin. Warm, nourished, oblivious.

           For a while.

           And then you’re plunged, face first down to a dilating threshold through which you’re extruded, cut loose and set freefalling into the blinding glare of an arctic elsewhere.

           Held. Suspended in mid-air. Screaming (what for?). Clutching at the air around your face (as if warding it off). Screaming. Held.

           For a while.

           And then you descend. Are let go of. A soft thud and you are squirming (still screaming) on an unbeknownst deathbed of refuse (used tampons, chicken bones, soiled newspaper, etc., etc.).

           Already in extremis.

           (Mommy’s gone back through the double doors. Dancing the night away.)

           And then the shock gives way to the wanting. The first (the last) surge of necessity. An exigence unsurpassed, wanting of utmost violence.

           Lips latch at nipples of fetid air. Lungs lunging at nothingness. Intake of nothing. Again. Again.

           Your inhalations are numbered. You are in mortal danger (already).

           You would not think—what if this pang go ever unrequited—because it is unthinkable.

           And were it thinkable you’d still be too preoccupied with wanting. Wanting it (with no idea of what it is).

           The little fists unfurl to grope for it. The mouth greedily solicitous (what for?)—its rictus inscribing a zero in the entrenched moonlight.

           The wanting consumes you. Encompasses you. Is you.

           (Nor would it occur to you that the telos of this wanting is death.)

           And yet your torment will cease. It will all be over soon (though it seem interminable— though it seem a lifetime of wanting).

           Not long now. Hush.

           And yet how to console a horrible hungering? What say to wanting personified?

           Perhaps if you could understand—but you cannot understand (small mercies). Perhaps if you were discovered in your abject elsewhere—but you will not be discovered. An inconsolable longing. A bewildered, inarticulate howl unto the holy hush of unanswered prayer.

           Such is life (yours).

           And yet somehow the original wanting (of utmost violence) grows more violent still.

           You are levitating toward an apex of wanting.

           Clutching, groping, screaming. Near the crescendo of wanting, your rictus widens, widens—toward absolute zero.

           No one has heard, can hear, will hear the reverberations of your cry—your jeremiad of wanting with its one word over and over,


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