Vol. 7

Kevin Peter Hall


There’s a story behind this head
they gave me, blackly bioluminescent
and pharmacopoeial. Its brain maybe mine
is a nasicorn wriggling thing, and thinking
through its fiberglass is like combing
a fork through glass noodles oscillating
their carp like some old Pink
Floyd jam. How many torrents
can this SnapTite chitin hold before its placebo skies
must unhinge their color corrections? I’m post-, a veteran

of cybernetics never off-limits and ranked
foramina all alike. But this head receives interference
only, canons plastered and prescience crackling.
It’s all grist, they say, and grist is a script
looping over heads that V/O whatever intelligence
they like. In the big book of baby superbug

names, in the comprehensive directory
of national interpretive centers, this head they
gave me lodges its protocols, shelf-stable as “OK”
and IQF. A discontinued head accessorized with matching
neck, fronded condom, patient tarantula of a head
whose argent carcinogenic markings ask for feeling
for, not feeling out. Enter the laudanum enchiridion: “Feel
your face to shrink your head.” Imagine: I was referred

to these sultry wards on a prayer, on
the extraterrestrial coattails of a
rhetorical question. And the answer they assigned me
(what everyone asks to know)? Its second mind doesn’t sauna
in its guts; it refrigerates itself in its lungs. Protean fluorescence
whose neuterings I can’t strip, think tank and helm, what
is interchangeable with insurrection? That flippant telepathy

insulating every kopje’s sentient core is a spiky
mycelium’s lightbulb indeed. I suppose cowards spill
whenever crowns rotoscope their roars
of centipede hunger. The ending to my story
is treated to a replica. My head, like a minim’s instinct,
can be had. Get behind to get
ahead. I am next in line and I am mine
to serve and—coincidentally—I lived.

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