Sometimes I like to pretend that I have my own way, and I always did. But that’s before I remember all the energy I’ve already spent pretending for someone else. I’ve taken on the backbreaking task of convincing someone that they are human, and that they’re important. And I do this by interlacing my fingers to theirs, clearing their dishes off the table, waking them up for work, going bird-watching with them, helping them find fun activities that aren’t drinking, answering all their specific questions about human nature, saying thank you when they hand me my change and it’s just 3 pennies, getting 2 pieces of licorice out of a bag, one for me and one for them, looking when they say look, not worrying when they say don’t worry, picking up their arms and waving them at people they know when they don’t feel like it, letting them climb in my grocery cart and then catapulting them down an aisle, calming down when they say calm down, voting when they say vote, mopping up the slime they trail behind them so they aren’t embarrassed, eating all the poisonous mushrooms in the forest so they can have a failsafe foraging experience, assuming the voice of their grandmother on the phone and calling their boss to say yes it’s true, I’m dead, and so-and-so cannot come to work today because they are grieving me, I’m going deep into the ground for a long time, at least until my body dematerializes and connects to other dematerialized bodies, and worms eat my particles and pass me through their slim tubes and out back into myself, and the worms pass, and the weather changes daily, and I punch up through the soil as a wafery green shoot and pea at the sky, and babies cry, and cows chew their own stomachs, and there should be a ribbon for how I am compliant, all the work I’ve done for you has sat on my head and buried me, but over and over again people like me come forth as reminders that the world is so boundlessly scary and complex and far from what the maddening crowd will ever hope to understand, and what’s that you say?

How can I speak if I am dead?

Phoebe Glick is interested in forging radical methods of intimacy and care under a State which endeavors to render those movements impossible. She lives in Brooklyn and co-edits The Felt. Be her friend @phoebeglick.

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