Trilobite is an arthropodologist's delight:
many bizarre creatures; no two alike.

Memory Bank A-P

Grace Mitchell


Time doesn’t match the pacing, pit stains flower into fragrance, leaflets deck the halls. The umbilical cord pulls tight against the violin bow like a chokehold. Carpet stays dirty and the hairs go gray. Mina watches her baby suckle and wonders if fairies slowly burn across the sky. Steam unspools from the spout and the sunset curtsies away. Nothing romantic, just the swell of soap as it blows into bubbles. Digital lightning bolts pixelate as Mina’s mind drifts to the power of witchcraft. A dull butter knife dashes between fingers; your pinky is as thick as a carrot. She drives to the grocery store with wet hair and clamps the girdled roll across her stomach, reminding her of a mammogram. Dinosaurs lament their plastic form. Nothing sounds good. The sign above the aisle doesn’t list all of the items. My name belongs to someone else and all these words are borrowed.


Drown the basement. The cave is an ocean. I got lost looking for the opening. Teeth come in as they go. Spit on your nails to make them shiny. Aphrodite gives birth to a bull in a maze, are you afraid of the dark? Father on all fours. Dust the Siamese cat for good fortune. Declawed paws are tongueless. Ornaments bob in the bathtub. Barbie’s hair grows back. Mina texts a truck driver. Second cousins, not first. Once removed. He receives the message in Iowa and poses in front of a Christmas tree, thinking of her. Frozen pizza burns the roof of his mouth, tongue the ridges.


The trophy is topped with a little gold rifle. The barrel goes into his urethra, now a big brother. The Patriot Act is put into place. I hold my ear to the wall. Teresa’s dull crotch is covered in red. Posh stripped naked. I chase myself out of the house. Memory is not our own. I remember pretending to write before I knew how to, convincing scribbles: a story in crayon. Cardboard bricks topple. What if I pee standing up? Bush reads a book, The Pet Goat – He eats everything in his path until it turns into desert. Soggy cereal. Pluck elastics off brackets and run braceless. White squares of enamel surrounded by yellow. My foot is in my mouth. Toe rings clatter. Shake the sandy sheets. Flatulence fans itself. Algae lines the ass crack. I lick my lifeline. The crease deepens with closed hands.


What is lemonade without the sugar? Her smile smears across diamonds. The shine is felt like metal on molars. Shopping carts crash. Mina photographs her shape, contorting the sides and thighs. He replies to his cousin. The burp carries sadness. Infomercials splay dildos. Vibrating tubes sit atop cotton clouds, the jack rabbit gnashes, teeth grind, basilica quakes. Our chimney is struck and falls into the field. Corn never comes again. The windows look in. He trims his nails, the cold air on exposed skin reminds him of purple newborns. Birth was a bold move. Ten and two. He buys a sheet of stamps with exact change. Lady Liberty speaks French. Furthermore, she’s a Roman goddess. We borrow and thus we owe.


Discovery is made while flossing. Legs spread for the full-length mirror. Does my pinkness match my mother’s. Inherited labia. Grandmother folds. Burgers spill out of the greasy bottomed bag. Smoke plumes, the car stinks. Sue doesn’t taste the fries, wipes her hands on black pants. Wedding bands clink in the basin, porcelain stains green. Earth appears as a dot between the G and E rings of Saturn. The ceiling hits the floor. Strings are man made to begin with — hand-stitched dress sits with old mothballs, its fumes filling my mouth. The box doesn’t expand, only thickens. Lightheaded fluorescence. Take the next exit. Airbags await causation.


Does the dish fall or is it thrown? Her soapy hand counts to three. Sweeping blondness, necks crane. Mina privately pirouettes in new shoes (Reeboks) and walks around the state fair alone, sitting on various park benches, watching teens share a foot-long corn dog. Where does it all go? Skyride selfies. Skirt the margins with a pencil, standardization blurs all of the bubbles into one big spot. Cataract. Correct. The center of the tissue is used but never the edges. Each balloon contains some spit. She inflates my cheeks by blowing. It’s hard to hug until it’s over & over time her body becomes different from mine, warm breath unknown to nostrils. Chat rooms feel us, “how old r u.” We tap on the two-way mirror. It was then that my body left me.


Trauma becomes so internalized that it loses words. Spilling your guts is such a mess. Nothing precious about a blowjob in the dark. My face is in the water, bobbing for apples. Incisors prick the skin and peel. Mamelons quickly wear away, revealing breast buds. It’s about losing something that was never there to begin with. Why do I say incest instead of insect? Incest instead of incense? Bare ass landing on a glass frame. There is blood on Brett Favre’s face. Now a big brother. The rock skips into my eye. That is one of the times I never wanted to come back up. The pool drains. Mina grabs a white towel, not quite knowing what to do with it. Her wedding dress was her sister’s. The fabric fades into a mouthful of old cereal.


The pissed-on floral pattern blooms. Tan couch cushions and carpet darken with urine. I sit in the flooding gutter, jeans heavy, riding low. We wear underwear in the rain comparing blind spots. We are separated by lines. Wood becomes slippery, snaps, bone cracks. We don’t always know why we’re laughing. Watching Ronald Reagan’s funeral with a broken arm. Nancy is preoccupied by stone steps in high heels. It’s as if she’s been here before. Nikki’s dad is next to me on the plaid couch drinking beer. Deep swallows never seem to quench his thirst. We sign the fiberglass cast with metallic markers. The shopping bag is double knotted at the elbow, shower water still seeps in.


Spaghetti straps snap. The feeling of forever followed by tightness. Who can hold their breath longest? Staring contest. Bloody knuckles. Cigarettes singe flesh and so forth. Eyebrows are plucked into a thin line of stuck surprise. Longing to be concave, to convey some sort of desirable deprivation. Pouting sexpot. Nikki describes the euphoria of getting fingered while I pull long reeds out of the earth. Mina mows the lawn in grass-stained sneakers (Reeboks), circles of sweat permeate her pits. He pinches the puppy’s pale nipple, wondering why milk doesn’t come out. Now a big brother. The TV glows at different intensities, exposing nudes on the couch.


Sandbox laced with landscape fabric, sodden with subterraneous soil. China is straight down. Camp counselors survey the widening hole, weary of our enthusiasm, determination: dirt-packed nails. She sings Meet Me With Your Black Dress On while stoking the fire with scraps of paper, fiery ash extinguished by midnight blue. The only light we have is the red buzzing glow of an exit sign. Her lips on mine, inflating my cheeks into a quick, sighing balloon — my pubic region warm & heaving — laughter makes it somehow permissible. I have my first orgasm at b-ball practice. Free-throws ricochet off the rim, girls form a jostling blur beneath the hoop. Who has the ball?


Licking the gobstopper, its colors mix with blood. Can’t taste a thing, but crave change. The blue comes back to yellow, with green in-between. Rawness is realer. Reduce the house to skeletal structures. Basement remains undone. Skin-on-skin, pressing into bone spur. I stare at the staircase, nails sticking out where carpet ought to be. Costumes deflate without the people inside. When do you let go? The balloon pops, tangled in the pines. Pearly white ribbon out of reach. Ice cream makes the car seat sticky. Eyes squint at seagulls flapping through hot air. How’s the water so blue on you. Thighs chafe, stretch marks contour the ass cheek. Alyssa points, her finger stuck in the door.


Claustrophobic mouth space. Permanent bone-like pieces gather, words come out clunky. Thumbnail digs at the roots while we sit in a circle, the world beneath us in different colored threads. Lost count of the molars. Mina browses greeting cards and tugs at a helium balloon. Happy Birthday. A rotisserie chicken sits in the cart. Crescents unfold in the oven. At some point the cards become routine, leaving the words up to Hallmark and signing your name.


After brain surgery, Dorothy keeps hearing the same song over and over. The doctor tells her that that song was playing in the surgery room while she was unconscious and that it imprinted itself onto her brain. Dorothy asks if anything can be done, she doesn’t particularly like this song.


He applies saliva to the tip of the Nerf dart and aims at the TV: WMD. Now a big brother. I press my face up to the screen and go through. Under blankets we see someone who’s been dead the whole time. Mina lights a match to scare off the deer. She drives into the sun to and from work. Crow’s feet are smile lines. The zen garden with a plastic rim, sand in the keyboard. Wouldn’t it be easier to forget? Which is to say, why don’t you? The paper slips on my pointer finger. It’s too easy to say “shit”.


I fall in love. Mina says it’s witchcraft the way I light candles – wax dripping into carpet, a hardened maroon. I’m not casting spells but staring straight into flames, love is blind. Maimed. The whites of his pimples, I would pop them. Smiley face smiley face. Fill in the silence with I don’t know what. Wear his jeans but they are too tight. Longing to be concave, a cave. I don’t know what. Greasy blonde hair tucked behind shiny ears. Dust bunny belly lint. I’m never full, never enough fingers, only fists. Chew on split ends, on drawstrings. Suck on your thumb, bite my arm. Forearm hickey. Crooked teeth marks look like staples, keeping it all together.


Puddles, pools. It’s the time of year when dirt turns to mud. Knee high in it out in the corn field, trying to get stuck. Shoes and socks get lost in the stalks. Faded blue jeans coated in crackling mud. Encrusted skin, granules cling to the tiny hairs on my arms and midriff. Shave the happy trail to lose direction, throw off the scent. There is only up and down and I haven’t found the bottom. The sun dips behind trees and appendages go numb. Clothes are wet and heavy, dragging as they harden. Solidifying into a sculpture, cracking out of marble. Losing my marbles. Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. Eros in a corn maze, shucking. By sundown I am stuck in one place, returned to form.