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January 15, 2018 | Fiction

The Demise of Fragaria Ananassa

Danielle Lea Buchanan

The Demise of Fragaria Ananassa photo

Tongue hasn’t left its .276 square foot efficiency studio apartment in three weeks. To discourage visitors due to lack of space, this space was rented. Tongue is going through a break-up. This isn’t a euphemism for anorexia nervosa or a divorce from monosodium glutamate. This hurts. Tongue’s heart swings like a uvula by a purple cord from the ceiling. Her name: Fragaria Ananassa. Pet name: Strawberry. She left 800 seeds shaped like memories—circular, opalescent, stiff dots—that Tongue stuffed into every 1,872 taste buds, rolling each reminisce in saliva and salt for hydration, for preservation.

Lately, Tongue cries and cries. Tears squash through salivary glands, duct out the gum line, sprinkle from the roof, sprout up the carpet and hose down cheeks. A flood will soon come. Can lips, like levees, hold? Lately, Orville Redenbacher kernels paper the mouth’s walls in translucent copper. The toothbrush hasn’t Swiffered in months. Strips of marbled ribeye hang like bulbs but their electrical wattage can’t gnaw through fat fast enough for an epiphany. Lesions and porcini mushrooms marathon through the foyer. Carpet, once cerise, is now bacteria white and smells of cuttlefish. Tongue spends days bathing in a mucous membrane, drowning in a claw foot tub of Streptococcus, Hendricks Gin and tonic—always a sucker for cucumber and botanicals. Warm, dull slickness swaths Tongue in a comfort that’s wallowed in. Grief hugs constantly, so consistently and heartache beats dry mouth.

Still, existential crises posed intervention. #Why move? Tongue asks. #What is the mouth but a penitentiary #A windowless room #Do I live to only moisten #What when my moist dries #Is respiration and digestion truly vital to corporeal functioning #What do I owe the body #For whom, exactly, do I infinitely wrap enzymes around falafel #Never have I seen my Lord #When fork taps my door, why open #Don’t like 3/4ths of what’s sporked to me #I can’t go on #Teeth don’t part like curtains #Can’t snap teeth up like Venetian blinds into gumline #Where is my view #Can’t cut cheek holes to install bay windows #Seen world only once this month #Felt a breeze and Oreo tasted like Autumn when Lord smiled #Sun diseases across my horizon in colors of gingivitis

Tongue possesses no aversion to dialectical behavior therapy but frequently becomes tongue-tied when a specialist inquires about childhood. Wordless, speechless, Tongue is diagnosed as a co-dependent manic depressive with type two social phobia and severe claustrophobia. Brain writes a script for serotonin reuptake inhibitors and strawberries of every variety, species and season. The specialist asks if Tongue ever mused on a peanut #No# The Specialist says after undergoing post-traumatic stress disorder, life can still be butter. Pissed, Tongue invents an artillery of symptoms. The Specialist gets horny off each new potential pathology, hornier, and can’t write scripts, horniest, fast enough with a fancy, French fountainhead pen, cums. Tongue now possesses enough Schedule II and III level narcotics to sedate a North Korean missile launch. Benzo after hydro after codo melt into cavities of couches. Three black seeds hidden on the ceiling fan fling across the room when the tonsil is turned on. As memories hatch, Tongue closes its 1,872 eyes.  

 

image: Bryan Bowie


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