Tanks crawling through my city, right there, close, behind the window. I’m on the floor, face down, buried in the carpet my brother took his first steps on. It’s not only scary at twelve, it’s made clear. Don’t look up. Don’t listen to sounds outside. Recite memorized poem about Vladimir Ulyanov. All the statues of Lenin, gold-plated, will have no heads, or worse, in the morning. Dragged by ropes off the pedestal, my history, gold fillings in teeth.
When I was little I had an amusing game of cataloguing ways to die. Some were boring, run-of-the-mill suicides, like hanging, drowning, etc. Some stemmed from ancient torture practices, like being sat naked on a bamboo shoot and dead within a day because of the plant’s incredible growth rate. Ripped apart by horses, one’s arms and legs tied to four of them respectively. Or an icicle dripping on the top of one’s head until they go mad, and then piercing them through as it thaws and detaches. One of the scariest ways for me was from an article I read, not about torture or suicide, but an accident. A needle was once lost in a patient’s bloodstream. It eventually pierced his heart. I would imagine this for hours. It would always be a sewing needle my mom used to mend my socks. It would have a very small eye. A slender silver float coursing through blue rivers intricate as dreams, until it stops at the heart.
I’ll hold my tongue. Against yours, against all odds, look: open mouth and it pours. Your tongue— stiff, unfamiliar with my language— how it moves around shapes. Little details wander into your life, spread themselves out on the table, buzzing. And this being inside of me, it roars, it cannot be appeased. Tongue turning slowly, ancient machinery, awkwardly forcing muscles into submission. Gears grinding the rust of habit away, shifts that give. All I can feel is this.