Stalking around my apartment one night and
enumerating the usual derangements, I decided
to take a bath.
From the tub, I thought about how
nothing fit into my place: the television
I kept on the fridge until I realized it made
both hum, the kitchen cabinet blocked shut by
an overhead light, and the room in which I
only kept a bed. I could hear my choking
As I lay in the sudsy place between sleep and wake,
I saw a giant waterslide hovering over my head
and heard music warbling out from behind the toilet.
the bathroom began to take on a theme-park atmosphere.
midgets and elephants and mimes
loped around in the toiletries. jugglers and
runaways whooped it up in the folds of my
moldy shower curtain.
finger-fucking and injuries on rusty machines.
I brushed my teeth with a B.B. gun and
took aim at a mouthful of stuffed monkeys…
on the first crack, I am flushed downtown…
where a mermaid and a homo-cameleopard were going
to go on a date. they met at the Palace, usually filled with families,
on the corner of Delancey and Allen.
when they arrived, the hostess sat them by the fountain,
and a gruff efficient server took their order.
their speech was gentle, educated, and knowing.
I could barely hear them through the noise
of the bustling restaurant:
The homo-cameleopard could have gone wild, kicking the
other diners with his hindquarters, slashing them with his front claws,
spraying the porridge from his wide cleft face, but he didn’t. His
composure was exemplary.
When the mermaid went to the bathroom, wetting her
puckered gills and glass-thin fins, and when she came back,
slinky smoothing down, he managed to stand and she to sit
without much awkwardness. She was nervous with her date,
from a different world which she could smell on him in a
I hear a glass crack, interrupting conversation
for a beat, and I turn quickly
to a shelf of dishes that occupied a whole
wall, laden with bowls and plates of an
encyclopedic variety, some neatly stacked
and others in disarray, but arranged,
and then I know I’m with them, in their
glassware and in their night.
Both are well-traveled.
Both are sophisticates. They know where it all goes.
The local maps of youth, ambition, and anxiety that
accumulate gray creases, and get cut through by shafted light.
the expectations of parents, the obligations of species,
the pressures of professions and natural hungers of the body.
In the mermaid’s apartment:
the cameleopard gently
controls his explorations.
she wants to know what love is like
on the bleached wastes that she thinks must
never move. For the homo-cameleopard,
inside her is an endless slide along a wave
and thickens his dry mane for her show.
cULPall me… always… beaHRUUGHtiful
you taAYste likGHe sand
these last words flicker into dark
as I gasped awake, still numb
with sleep and screaming.
Out of the tub, with glass between my
bones, fingers wrinkled porcelain
white, and my feet expanding red.
A pulsing, frightening thought,
that soon I’ll have anything I want,
and in the perfect size.
“camelleopard” by Tim Boyd. For sale information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more of the collaboration “Herd” between Tim Boyd and Matthew Sandler please click here.