Every day, I consume many colors–white and blue, pink,
translucent as a pale winter sun. Some I could crush
to a powder, some I could puncture and watch thick
red ooze smear my hands. Fat in the middle, round
like a flat earth, capsules you could shake like maracas.
I have ingested the weight equivalent of an adult male gorilla
or an anoa, from Indonesia (similar to the water buffalo).
I have swallowed one for every resident of
Copenhagen or the South American country of Suriname.
When I was six, my parents brought me
into the living room (dominated by a burnt orange rug),
and told me about “allowance.” When all the yapping
was done, they handed me a “dime,” slim and small, and so
I took it. Metallic, yes, but with a human hand tang. Right
down the hatch, pressing the back of my tongue flat,
following it with a drink in the kitchen.
It makes sense, therefore, that when he died, choking on
the same disease, I dreamt of swallowing him. He was a sparrow
being tossed like a football until I intervened and caught him.
His tiny bullet body, the heart fluttering to stillness,
the feathery heat in my hand turning to cold, and so I ate him.
No chewing, just opened my throat and down he went, until he
reached my chest and lodged, a pill that requires
more water than I can ever drink.
Originally published in Cleaver Magazine