156 Readings

Drowning in Pearls

A strand of pearls bumps up my throat and the orbs drop

one by one from my lips. The last pearl catches in my teeth


and I unhook the strand. It dangles from my fingers.

I coil the saliva-damp orbs in my palm and offer them to the man


next to me. He yanks the strand apart and                     white               

dots                  scatter              across              asphalt.


I drop to the ground and gather rolling pearls. I scoop them

in my palms, but they slide between my fingers. They spiral


away from me, disappearing down sewers. I cough and more

spew out of my mouth, unstrung. I choke and blood sprays out,


coats the white balls. Each pearl is larger than the one before

and I know my throat won’t survive. I cram one hand over


my mouth and press the other against my throat, try to press

the pearls back down my esophagus. They dribble out


and fall down, pooling around my legs. The asphalt turns

iridescent and the man shuffles away, kicking great clouds


of pearls. They fan up and he curses as they pelt his arms.

He flails with hands but still more shower down. His shoulders


hunch and he stumbles, the pearls roll his feet in circles.

His body drops and still pearls boil from my mouth, shoot between


my fingers. His hand claws against the white tide but the orbs

bury him and his fingertips drop below the pearl sea.

Appeared in Electric Velocipede Fall 2010 issue

Posted 09/09/14
Another piece from ANTLER WOMAN RESPONDS.
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