The Salt Whore

Wisps of clear clarity without thickness distended and clinging to muck dripping in salty ammonia smut all over the room no room in and out of the water no space for a breath sheathed in plastic and a porcelain ring biting into ass and water thrashing but not splashing the hole is well-wrapped and get off get off get off the toilet seat before you soil yourself in the bowl looking up at you but nowhere to go no room no space elbows cracking corners hitting funny bones knees locked in by wall nowhere to go you can’t go sitting on toilet quivering on the wrap with nowhere to go and needing to go bowels shaking begging weeping leaking against plastic breathe release relieve relax breathe in breath out breathe in breathe out breathe out breathe out breathe out no no no wait hold your breath will be everywhere hold hold in your toxins don’t exhale don’t blow don’t share don’t go don’t withdraw don’t go don’t withdraw try harder harder try harder to breathe in but don’t breathe out take in don’t go hold yourself in once you let go you’re spent and the inside of the room is a wet mess and it’s over breathe breathe in in gasp but don’t sigh gasp don’t end it stop exhaling stop going stop ending it stay don’t go don’t go quivering against plastic

Light bulb burns out, thank god. Darkness. Privacy. Relief. You go. You’re gone. You’re everywhere. No, I’m everywhere. You weren’t here. You are not here. I everywhere defile my little room. I define my room. My knees are locked against the wall. I cannot stand. I sit in it. I want to go. I want to spread and stretch my legs. But my back’s against the wall, the wall’s against my knees and even if I were able to pull me by the hair out of the toilet bowl and lubricate my knees until they slipped out of joint or I don’t know chewed off my legs like a snared wolf it is dark and I didn’t write myself a window so there’s only the door I can’t get to but even if I were wily as a raccoon and I just found a way somehow to get it done and I went out the door, what would my wife think of me now, sopping, without pants, covered in excrement, having chewed off my legs? Do I have a wife? Children? Are they grown and gone? Is Mary there? Is she here? Is she ashamed? Has she gone to live with a man who will live with her? Has she gone with what remains of my children? Where is the toilet? Am I alone, abandoned by myself? Where am I in this dark? What is that smell? Where are you?

The light burns out, thank god, but it is okay, it’s only light. I don’t need to breathe; I’m blind. Imagine what the blind can smell and taste and feel and yes see. No, don’t imagine, I am blind, I don’t need to imagine. I smell and taste and feel and yes see in reality. I have no need for imagination or eyes or hands or senses or others or that smell. I am in the dark everywhere not here not gasping not splattered perhaps not aesthetically pleasing but the aesthetic is not the endgoal. I am resigned, infinitely resigned everywhere, which is the last step before the cleft on the other side of which is faith, the fidels, I’m just saying that, I can smell it, how I could use a cleaning agent, some chemicals, some Borax, some disinfectant to scour myself into a cleft, a trench a channel a cliff a straight, scour myself into a declivity a crack a chasm a cave an absence a hole, which is the only way to get to the stench and get rid of the stench, become the stench, scour myself into stench. It is bleach I could use to scour myself or all the shreds of myself before my family finds my finally inanimate bleached beached corpse shredded by seagulls. If not too degraded they can use my skin for warmth, my oil for light, my oil for machines, my oil for pencils, my oil for soap, my oil for longevity, my blubber for meat, my muscle for meat, my meat for meat, my heart for meat, climb into my water-logged head and scoop out my tons of spermaceti to burn smokelessly or lubricate their clocks or rub on their face to make themselves more attractive and kick my great black eye for a good time and therapy and foreplay and use my vomited and defecated ambergris as a perfume or to remedy a headache or as an aphrodisiac to help my wife reenter love or be reentered in love and play the harp on my baleen or wear my baleen as a corset or draw scrimshaw on my teeth or filter the salt from their drinking water through my fine long thick baleen or fish with my baleen to catch another whale and harpoon it and lance it and lash it to the side of their boat to hack and flense and sell while the sea turns red. Who says this goddamit I am not a whale, whales are not fish, whales need to breathe until they are dead.

The light burns out, thank god.

* * *

Why are you crying?

I’m making salt.

That’s why I’m here.

Salt for your stones?

For my wife. I’m going home. I’m giving her salt for her eyes. She will need it.

I see. That makes me cry. Thank you. Take as much as you like. You have given me a reason to cry all night.

I’m sorry. To make up for it I would like to give you these feathers and these stripes, these wings and the rings around these eyes. I’d like to give you these stones.

Give me the one in your mouth you bastard.

In my mouth.

In your mouth.

I’m hungry.

Yes, go home hungry, without a stone in your mouth. Eat your tongue if you must so I don’t have to smell all the places it’s been. Go, with your wild fowl and scavenging mammals, go be content, swallow your sin, be a man who’s done what you’ve done like many men before you, it’s what a man is, if I get much more mad I’ll stop crying.

Thank you.

It’s my job. I’m the salt whore.

I have one more question.

Go.

May I use your toilet?

My chamber pot is beneath the bed.

Here?

Yes.

This?

Yes. Go.

Here?

Yes.

Won’t you go elsewhere?

No, I don’t go elsewhere. Go.

I am trying.

Wait. Stop. Don’t go. Don’t you see?

No, I don’t look into other people’s chamber pots.

Don’t go.

Is it full?

My husband, he’s spread plastic wrap over it.

Can I pull it off?

No, only he. It is a backup in case I run out of other reasons to cry. He is out collecting ocean water or perhaps banging at a clam hole in the sand while fantasizing about mermaids. He will not return until dark, if then.

Why are you crying?

It’s my job. Why are you?

I need to go.

Go.