I am searching for someone but I can’t seem to remember who.
I tread alone through a darkened orchard, the blue hue of moonlight dull like a dying light bulb, like the reptile hall at the zoo.
A pale, unblinking pearl rests in the calcified mantle of the sky,
casting unnatural shadows on the path.
Long, spindly branches become the crooked fingers of a midwife, grasping at my ankles. They shift beneath my feet like a nest of snakes; writhing.
My stride is heavy and uncertain as the mist surrounds me,
shimmering, moon-landed, godless. The chirps and howls
from my mutant siblings fill the air; a thousand glowing yellow eyes,
I follow the river of milk upstream.
It grows pink, then red, then rust, then mud. The banks
slope: a valley of flesh, bending like a soft torso of clay.
Arienette, the oak-patterned fawn,
the light-eater, the light-loving,
she knows what it is like to be born backwards,
I dash between rows of two-headed hogs hanging from iron hooks,
jaundiced hide stitched crudely, atrophied snouts ajar;
a sauna of depravity and rot.
Blistering heat morphs from sensation into sound,
the screeching racket of cicadas, the squeals of cannibalized pigs,
trenches of rust beneath me grow outwards and collapse in on themselves.
My intestines squirm like a giant ravenous worm,
I’m running on the sinews of muscle pulled from bone, I am running.
Michelle Johnson-Wang is a Chinese American writer originally from Washington DC. She is currently studying at UC Berkeley. Her work has appeared in Ruminate Magazine, West Trestle Review, Rock & Sling, River River Journal, and elsewhere.