I am full of absorbed cells and deep pits of tissue and future tumors and still

it is hard for you to understand: you only exist because of this phenomenon.

Existence is improbable -- yours and mine -- but still you roam within at cell-level

and grow your trespassed roots inside of me.

How fast I am changing!

Your compulsion to shape shift turns me part animal and the animal part me.

Half-formed, we evolve and evolve and evolve again. Keep the big change moving,

my little changeling: there is my monster face, there is your alien face, there is my serpent's tail, there are your dragon eyes.

At first you were my guide down the path.

You helped me shudder into existence. You gave me the sleek, muscular body

of a seasoned carnivore and the scalloped tongue and pretty white teeth of a girl. You learned so fast to develop a taste for the gamey consistency and musty mouthfeel

of my kill. You admire my goatish hungry body. All of my heads. The way I breathe fire and burn the world. Groom me; brush my lion mane.

Are you mine or am I yours?

You've been with me since the beginning. Protecting me from the fault line.

From the first, the sixth, the ninth swells of shame. Migrating to injury sites. Soothing

my wounds. We are fused, webbed, folded together. Stitched up one side and down

the other. You know me better than I know myself -- so tell me, what will I become?

Flat Space

All my time jumping and electric wave surfing and space hitching got me to this long moment: I find myself on this flat planet where you don't live.

Most humans can't exist here, so I don't blame your absence. Warm-blooded bodies

do not generally enjoy the crush from the third dimension into the exquisite second

where you are thin and flat and suddenly the other.

For me it is a relief.

The constant longing for a more elegant figure falls away. How else can I be at peace
with the pushing of flesh off my bones, which should hurt but doesn't.

For a moment I hum and quiver like a tuning fork, and it feels like love.

You are all the dark matter no one else can see, but you can't be home and here;

that is both hidden and simple. Your desire for structure, to be corporeal -- you don't care much for the shimmer or the shape shift -- is as intense as my need to shed thousand year old skin. What good is all the chaos if I collapse into myself. If I burn out star-like. But from friction comes heat, and there are dimensions, other dimensions, too straight, too square, too absurd for even me to see.

Now and then I'll visit you back in the round world. You know the way I mimic the give and take of conversation.  I can curve and bend and undulate with the best of them. Understand that I will always fool them all. Look for me in little bits of uninhabited space. I'll spy and learn and listen in with the flies on the walls.


Copyright © 2019, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.

Meggie Trioli

Naomi Bess Leimsider has published short stories in Quarterly West, The Adirondack Review, Summerset Review, Blood Lotus Journal, Pindeldyboz, 13 Warriors, Slow Trains, Zone 3, Drunkenboat, and The Brooklyn Review.