Re­verse Os­mo­sis


This semi-per­me­able mem­brane. This. Re­moval of mol­e­cules too big to choke down. Break down, sift through. Crys­talline rocks. This. Ion mol­e­cule me. Pu­rify any way you can. Wa­ter bleached too clean. Ap­ply the pres­sure, boil it down. Try and catch the steam. What is left, pure as the thing they tried to re­duce you to. Yet you are left dry. Spine like a cob­web, lay­ers and lay­ers of sinews crack­ling, flaky. Fine fuzzy threads, too de­hy­drated to move. Stiff and tough as jerky. Body takes the fall for what was pressed into you, what was left out. What’s caught in the fil­ter; sand, grit, soul. Se­cret one, this feels like a lie. Se­cret two, three, four. I’m not sure what is real. Pry blood­stream open like a pinch wak­ing you from a dream. When I get up in the morn­ing, I could have sworn a mon­ster with pointed nails was scratch scratch­ing me open. My sis­ter’s bleed­ing pinches, blood crowd­ing in the pores. The glass jug be­side my bed re­flects more of the world out­side than my win­dow does, only up­side down. I drink from it. Se­cret five, six, seven. Ly­ing on the couch, un­der the tent we made out of a fit­ted sheet. She on the “top bunk,” the back of the couch. Me down be­low. She falls onto me, grinds her hips against mine. Scrap­ing, beg­ging. Se­cret heavy over our heads un­til we are too old. Eight, nine, ten. Red brother, brother sky. Face bright as the sun, sus­pended. Feet off ground chin lifted by sun­set bed, streaked soft and pur­ple blue as a child’s dream. Pur­ple blue as his face is turn­ing. I scream. Brother back from close to the sun, state so bright white and wide. Hides in dark at­tic for weeks at a time, feeds mice to snakes. He tells me about the first time, with a bot­tle of pills when he was eight years old. Big brother eight years my se­nior. This won’t sift through. Stuck in the fil­ter of me, I smoke ’til my mouth is dry.

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