h.b.irwin

Little Box in the City

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I could breathe easily for a few minutes, the violent burst would inflated my lungs & throat just long enough to reposition myself in the blankets and try to fall asleep. But before I could slip away some parts of my throat would clang together like two pieces of flint and I’d be sitting up again, waiting for the first easy inhale. Once I stopped coughing there was no other sound in the flat. Yet in those moments when I closed my eyes & my mouth I could hear water running on the other side of the wall, like a toilet overflowing, left to build up & choke out. I wheezed, trickled, and turned over to avoid a violent fit. Held my breath. I could hear knobs turning, metal legs dragging, the flipping of switches. I could feel my own disembodiment, the bed bucking and folding at the command of knobs, me, rolling around like a little marble. I found myself propping my neck & head on my arm like a lever. I heard the sharp clang of metal & stone from the street, the volume of a jack hammer but higher in pitch, like someone cutting bricks with a skill saw. Then I felt it in my finger tips, the weight of my head making them go all fuzzies, a dissemination of pins, then cold, as the noise from the street jumps into them and I am the jackhammer. Then silence and time. I wan to call it sleep but in such short intervals you might as well call it forgetting. Mindlessness. Then came the garbage truck, five stories high, commending down the block destroying cars and consuming slow pedestrians. With its giant dumpster arm it locks onto the flat and wrenches it out, disconnected from the city now, poised high in the air, shaken with an industrial force, then rolled into the truck’s bin, all of it–the bed, the plumbing, the knobs, the little marble. Then the empty box is replaced, sterilized, baptized, and reborn.

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