I’d print out a crocodile & feed it my left hand, then print out another, prosthetic hand & feed it that one, etc., ad infinitum. The beast would be hungry, & I have less use for myself these days since all the plastic filament in the printer can be replenished with online ordering. I’ve nested in blankets on my couch, not even going to bed, not ever leaving home because the job I’ve probably been fired from hurts less than losing an appendage. Lonely, I’ll have a friend in the crocodile, symbiotic natural relationship because he’ll need my hands & I’ll need his love. What will appear first, his tail or head? If head, will the teeth begin to bite before his heart is printed, before he can feel the sick, reptilian love between us telling him to stop eating, to wait for a new hand to devour?
It dug through my trash for gorgonzola & popped the slimy hunk in its mouth using its claws like human fingers, though it couldn’t have. They can’t. It would overcome the lock on the bear fence, I knew, I could read its mind as it polished off my food waste & moved on to my mail. Invoices, statements, blood test results, all things my wife said to shred —but around here, who steals your trash? This bear. He looked at me & I knew he was going to steal my identity. Could he hack my accounts? Had he overheard my mother’s maiden name? The neighbors’ garage thundered open & he ran. To get him back, I took a styrofoam tray of ground beef, ripped away the plastic wrap, & squeezed the soft mass so the juices dripped & its scent blossomed a message in my yard: Bear, a gift. On all fours in the bushes, my own hands smelled like sweet iron. I licked the juice from one, plucked tiny red berries from the shrub, smiled over the ants & water bugs weaving among the moist pine mulch. I shoved a handful in my mouth, chewed it like gum, forgetting where I was & why.
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