“I am already naked. What else can I remove?”
Once, I attended a cicada break its shell.
I stayed up all night to be present—I was eight.
It was summer, in the silence of dawn, blue light.
The cicada started knocking its body, from within.
Blinks perplexed me. Every time I blinked, it pared itself.
The new body exposed—white, glittering, so new it was wet, so naked, almost invisible.
Its transparent wings reflected the blue.
When it fully came out of itself, it stood on the top of its empty self.
Its volume was in two—void and lightness.
The cicada did neither move nor sing until the morning came.
It stayed still, gradually altering the colour of its body.
Quicker than speeding—
In the sunlight, it was no longer white, nor naked.
It flew away, leaving the empty shell behind.
I took the shell on my hand. It weighed nothing.
No body owned that body anymore.
Transparent, obscure, tangible form of void.
Opaque, absolute, naked form of presence.
When I attended someone’s leaving, we were alone in the room.
We were two, until one left.
My hand was laid upon another, on the forehead.
There was a sound of pulse, to the rhythm, in the background.
I stroked the forehead quietly, to the rhythm, for hours.
Our eyes met, sometimes.
There was an understanding—we said nothing.
A few minutes before the pulse went offbeat, something subtly pressed back my hand.
I had to make way. I felt the leaving.
Gently, my fingers only traced.
The body remained, removed from what had just fled.
Our eyes met again. I saw nothing hereat. I was alone.
Doctors came, minutes after the parting.
Mechanically, the sound of pulse played syncopation.
The heart was looking for its owner: the one it used to synch to.
Two—is not one.
More than two, I cannot count.
I have no power over this collision against the sameness.
If I get rid of myself, how do I look?
Feeling a drop of sweat sliding on my arm—and it was an ant walking on the skin.
Putting punctuation marks here and there, it deliberately hovered around.
I flicked it with my finger. Flying an arc, it glittered like spangles.
It landed on my chest, then crawled into my heart where everything goes through;
dark, deep, empty space that carries the whole weight.
It goes in all directions, looking for an exit.
But there is none. Only an entrance.
Resistance, under the skin.
It traces an outline of my self.
Patiently, it separates me from my mold.
My reversed unevenness.
A hollow becomes a bump; a bump, a hollow.
Already, I am inside out.
Where is the ant? I cannot feel it anymore—
Who is it that knocks me from within?
If I answer, do I begin to peel off?
But how would I know the visitor is myself?
Where will I go if you undress me from within?
Where will I go if I undress myself?