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