"Basilisk Boy" - Jay Morris






"Basilisk Boy" - Jay Morris

The nurse told me I had a great smile as I walked past her
And into the clinic.
The way she smiled suggested a woman who is often
On the receiving end of bad news.
We are kindred spirits that way.
Inside the clinic I am struck with the same
anti-septic, impersonal sensation I always
get when inside of hospitals
I'm a germ
I'm defiling this place
With my hypochondriac anxiety
The needle plunges into my skin
It's almost erotic
Vampiric as it draws blood from my veins
Dark, ritualistic -- I see why demons fiend for this
I examine my blood in the vial before it's taken 
For study
Searching for any suggestion of extra microscopic weight
Reconning for intruders
For viruses
For anything that could disrupt my homeostasis
She told me you will know your results in 4 days at the latest
I smile they way a person who worries about the world does
She grimaces -- tells me I have nothing to worry about
You know nothing about me -- my eyes say
My mouth transfixed in that great smile
Days go by
I am festering in my own pessimism
Counting back everyone and anyone
That could have been an exposure
The only things that eases my fears
Are shitty cartoons and starvation and the momentary mimosa
Funny -- my body turns to stupidity and anorexic
Inclination when I'm stressed out
I'll have to remember that on my death bed
In that decaying voice that whispers jokes with
Death at his door
Put on that episode of family guy
No -- I don't want to eat -- I can't eat
Eating is for people who deserve to live
On the fourth day
The latest day
The earth-shattering email
Negative -- you are negative
The sigh of relief
The aversion of crisis
The weight of death lifted off every cell of my body
If not just for now
There is no intruder
No virus
No basilisk blood running in my veins
I am not the king of serpents yet
I would never wish that crown on anyone
For it is a kingship acquired through unprotected gambles
And pharmaceutical indiscretion
From being told your whole life
You are the sum of your sexual expression
Deified in one stroke
Demonized the next
But still
This normal heart beats only against its own walls
And not yet the onslaught of a viral intruder
There is a fear in wondering if your body
Is an ambling epidemic
Death walking
Breath miasma
Blood acid
No -- no basilisk here
Just a boy who made some bad decisions
Just a boy who understands the power of negative
Thinking
Just a boy who is safe for now
My body is safe for now
My blood is safe for now
For now sounds like a threat and a promise

(July 2014 photo of Jay Morris by Michelle Castleberry)

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