What should have been but never was.jpg

Issue 1

Melinda Freudenberger

House of Body Buzz

It is a pink-orange sunset hued room behind a crystal door. Inside,
there is one girl, one boy, and Katy Perry, lip syncing FIREWORK
from the backseat of a red-lips car, their bodies deflated blow-up
dolls, hot and rubbery slick. Boy-body grabs the girl-body’s hand
and holds it victorious and steady in the air. Sing, he exhorts. Girl-
body opens her mouth but no thing is coming out of there: maybe
dirt and dust, maybe a yes and no. Without anybody to hear her,
does Girl-body make a sound? The music has faded out and Katy’s
mouth hangs in an open O. She smells like sour strawberries, like
the shade peaches turn right before you throw them away. She puts
a little hand on Girl-body’s shoulder and squeezes. “Isn’t it funny,”
she says, “that the body most poked and prodded and fucked is the
body you are most different from.” Katy peels plastic off of her
skin for Girl-body. She sees all of her. Katy wrinkles and glistens
and deflates in the fake highway lights: the skin of her face sticks
to the skin at the back of her head. She is beautiful, Girl-body
thinks, and her rapist dreams of love in the front seat.

 

How does she change this? How does she sound different—
stronger, nice and persevering even through loss? Girl-body enters
another room: the ground is dirt, is seed, is sprouting
rhododendrons in pink and purple clusters. Here, she is as small as
she’s ever wanted to be—pocket-sized, pocketed, the flowering
bushes towering over her, brushing the tops of the ceiling. The
bees crack open the key and lock of her brain and pour in, landing
with a tip-toed thud on her red velvet lining, soft yellow and black
bundles of nerves rolling between ear and ear. She sags and sticks
from end to end, like the body is a sack that the Boy-body fucks
out. Maybe this is true, she thinks, but the bees pack in, fill her out,
and the buzzing begins: a tight string plucked and trembling. Her
body shivers and shudders as the bees fill in her chest, her arms,
her thighs, her legs. How does she change this? She doesn’t. She
slits open the tiniest bit of skin at the fingertip to let the bees circle,
pollinate pink, and return.

 

Down the hallway, a big, black door slides open. Everything is
shimmering black marble. Another body lies in wait. This is the
father-container—a thing on the ground, clean split down the
middle, a greenhouse growing in his stomach, all moist deep dark
and thick with sweat. Are we the same, Girl-body wonders,
kneeling next to him. THIS IS A DARK MOIST ROOM CALLED BEAUTIFUL, the
wall reads in big, white letters. God or someone she thinks to be
God approaches from the far side of the room. Girl-body has been
invited to ask Him a question that He will answer.

            “What is your dream?”

“I hear the knock on the back of your eye,” He presses his finger to
his own forehead, then to hers. “The buzz in your body.”

             “What is your dream?”

A bowl of honey sits in between them. God swirls a finger in the
sticky gold and starts to draw on the black floor with it—it is
something she is unable to decipher. “I do not take pleasure in the
death of anyone,” He says, “but every body you lose is a room you
walk into one more time.”

 

The sunset is stuck in a hot pink nuclear grimace behind the car.
Katy tries to stick her arm out of the car window to catch the
breeze; it slaps against the plastic car. She coughs up dust and
rubber strings. They are both caught in a sticky-honey mess.
You’re no fun, Boy-body declares. He could be talking to anyone.
He is talking to no one. Isn’t it funny, she thinks.

 

Isn’t it funny, Girl-body looks down, the little black coals
stretching her skin from the inside out. God is still drawing his
dream on the floor in the glittering wet light. “The garden.” His
hand shines with honey and sweat, pooling, and He pours it over
the father-container’s stomach. “I tend to him,” He says. The
father-container’s head is bald, shiny and white against the black,
slick floor. She rubs his head. God rubs his head. The genie inside
stays sleeping. We all stay sleeping.


Melinda Freudenberger lives in Santa Fe, NM with her boyfriend and their cat, Nancy. She has a BA in Creative Writing and her first collection, SIN-EATER, is available for purchase on Lulu.

Emily Corwin