Yesterday I was fine.
But today I woke up in six parts.
I woke up to the sound of a boulder falling off a cliff a thousand miles away,
And to the smell of a cinnamon candle being lit in a house twenty miles west of Nashville.
I have managed, by some miracle, to roll my head on its side atop the pillow, and from this angle I can see that every one of my limbs have detached themselves from my torso.
I can’t remember what last night was all about, I can’t remember walking in the door, or undressing, all I know is there was a cat fight in the alley behind my apartment building and I was routing for the loud one with the patchy fur.
My mother walks in the door singing the birthday song, and drops the plate of pancakes with a blueberry smile and begins sobbing and lightly tapping her eyelids with hands like fly swatters.
She picks up my left leg off the floor and then my right, followed by one of my arms that has fallen off the bed.
She adjusts them back into place frantically; like she’s prepping the candles on a cake just before it’s presented to the birthday girl with all the family gathered round, huddled close.
I do not say a word, since I’m not all that concerned, and because I believe in modern medicine. I’m pretty convinced it’ll work itself out, and so I focus my attention on the window where I had watched the cats fight with their teeth and claws and pheromones.
Mom, now at the foot of the bed, with one arm grabbing her side and the other with its elbow balanced on top, her free hand rubbing her already chapped chin nervously.
Mom says, “This just won’t do. Your relatives will be here in an hour, and your friends, they’ve all RSVP’d, and your boss, well what will you have to say for yourself?”
I reply in a language I make up on the spot, and decide that, with this rare condition, I may now have the time to write a dictionary for that made up language; I could actually do it. And after, I could write a mythology using the language, and then an epic poem, and then who knows.
Mom attempts to twist my arm back into its socket, as if it’s some kind of screw. All the years of repairing Barbie dolls could not have prepared her for this.
“The party must go on,” she says, and throws an afghan over my heap of fleshy bits and wraps a washcloth that matches the color of my bed shirt around my neck to make it look as if I’m wearing a turtleneck, and that my head is in fact still attached to my body the way that it should be, and in my made up language I say,
“Nobody wears turtlenecks in the middle of July.”
To which she replies,
“Now’s not the time to be silly.”