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My Sweet and Sweat

Mariana Murcia

Any tendency to empathy is perpetually being checked
by the need for practical thinking.
I repeated this thought out loud,
slowly, to somehow prove that each of these words
were actually coming together,
aligning in my own monlogue:
by–the– need–for–practical–thinking.

I was lying in a bed that was not mine,
I can’t say that it was a bed bed,
it was more like an improvised isolation from the floor,
but I’ll come back to this later.
Eyes open, barely blinking.
A sudden but vivid memory
was playing in front of me for who knows how long.
It was one of those sunny days
that seemed to go on forever,
family and friends were bathing
in a pond amidst the wet path
of a soft river,
flowing on its way down the mountain.
I loved to wade
in and out
the tall grasses that grow
in the murky water,
the touch of the wavy weeds didn’t scare me,
they fed my illusion of becoming a fish in the water.
When I emerged onto the shore
my legs were studded with small
black slimy creatures.
Leeches! Don’t touch them!
My mother yelled,
and came with her lit cigarette
to suffocate, with the glowing end,
the parasites, which exploded,
showering me with my own blood.
Up until today I believe I could feel
the leeches’ sudden outburst as my own.
You might think it was because of the proximity,
or even the blood bound
between the living and dying,
but was there something else?
This was my first memory of many others like this,
where I could feel in my pores
and bones
the quick death of the most unfamous creatures,
especially those attracted to my sweet and sweat.
I was not exactly aware of this reaction
even if it was always part of me.
But three years ago something rare happened,
I can’t really explain what it was,
but it is the reason for being lying here,
in a tall square white tent,
no windows, isolated, but with all these buzzing memories
running over and over my entire body.
Sounds bad, but it isn’t.
How glad I suddenly plunged into the study
of these blood suckers,
freeloaders, scroungers,flunkie deadbeats,
the way I do everything: with all my fire
and passion, with my entire being,
so that the world, the party,
my work ceased to exist for me
and only one passion possessed me
day and night: to be outdoors roaming
about the fields, rivers and ponds,
gathering handfuls of mosquitoes and returning home
to put them to in translucid meshy boxes,
to observe them very closely,
so close that I could listen to their frequencies,
sometimes they could bite me through the mesh
and we both would shudder for a second,
they dying and I

I would fizz like an agitated soda bottle.
I lived through this whole time
as though in a fever.

Mosquitoe Car