Your Siren’s Running on Empty

25 Feb

SO. This week we had the pleasure of meeting some students from the University of Alabama that are participating in the Creative Writing Student Exchange with Ball State. We had a great time drinking Jamba Juice and eating peanut butter cookies and listening to their words, words, words. Their professor, Brian Oliu, read some lyric essays that left me thinking YES and I WANT THAT. Layne will talk more about what he does (8-bit video games mixed with beautiful imagery: intrigued? You should be.) in her post on Monday. I’ve dabbled in lyric essays before, but never really wrote an entire piece. I left the reading inspired, so I wrote the piece below but honestly I’m not sure what it should be “categorized” as. Maybe you can help me out, dear readers.

(P.S- Brian and company– it was so nice to meet you, and I hope you come back to Muncie soon! But maybe when the weather isn’t acting like a big B.)

Your Siren’s Running on Empty

Last night an ambulance wailed outside my window. I ran to his side, wrapped my arms around his hood, squeezed him close. I told him he was safe. I said words I couldn’t prove, words that could build a house but not a home. I clasped his rear view mirror between my fingers and led him through my front door, removing his tires, setting him on the floor. His bumper was too big for the futon.

The lady in the ambulance’s belly cried through his walls. She yelled, MY HEART IS BROKEN, and I said, MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE CUT YOUR HAIR. I pried open his jaws, birthed the woman onto solid ground head first and screaming. Her arms ripped from their sockets, but I don’t think she noticed. With purple nail polish I painted a dotted line down her chest. Instead of marching ants, they were fairy footprints because she was afraid of insects. I cracked her ribs along the guide. I unclogged her arteries with a plunger. I sewed her ripped valves with shoelaces and whiskers. I knelt on the floor, hands dripping blood, her organs exposed to air like a lizard belly-up to the sun. There’s no warmth here, I told her. It was shut off months ago.

The ambulance watched, wails growing louder and louder. I smacked his taillights with my bloody hand to shut him up. I smacked him so hard the plasma separated from each blood cell, staining his skin with sticky blotches, more yellow than red. You don’t know, he said. You can’t feel this, he said. You can fix things, he said. I made him go wash his windshield in the bathroom, dim his flashing lights. You’re causing a scene, I said. Close your mouth, I said. Feel better, I said.

Last night, you wailed outside my window. I ran to your side, wrapped my arms around your neck, squeezed you close. I told you that you were safe. I said words I could not prove, words that could build a house but not a home. Words that could cover, but could not fix.


5 Responses to “Your Siren’s Running on Empty”

  1. leeraloo February 25, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    This is good! I don’t know how you came up with the idea for it, because it’s a wonderful kind of crazy, but I like it.

  2. Lindsey.p.LaVal February 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Abby! Good use of conceptualism/surreeealism.
    That’s a new style for you! you’re growing!
    BRAVE AND GOREY; or, how I am proud.

  3. Brian February 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    This makes me really happy! Again, thank you for the shoutout. Y’all are the best. We had a blast.

    “You can’t feel this, he said. You can fix things, he said.” — lovely.

  4. Maria February 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    WOW!! I think I had a dream like this once.

  5. elysiasmith February 28, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    after edits. you should submit this. it’s wonderful.

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