Sabotaged

By Anne Marie Wirth Cauchon

The commercials begin. A light bulb in black and white fills the screen. You hold one too, the subject and the object. Your face glistens and you say my name aloud again and again until you believe I am here, trapped in the bulb, and so I am. You are nude and Michael Jackson dead, baby powder upon the air. Baby powder in every crevice, in every mucous membrane, as if sufficient to swab your insides’ sog. Baby powder on the toaster edge, across the television and the venetian blinds that are shut as always so the room is dim while outside the Rockies hoist tits of snow and cradle crotches of snow despite the desert sun that dries and coarsens women decades younger than you.

You hide the light bulb with the others beneath the bed.

I transubstantiate.

I am bulb and you are hairless, without wrinkles, your arms soft and damp as infant-ass, your legs withered and large. There are deaths worse than death. For example: you imagine I blew the bulb’s fuse and said my name, and so it is and I am trapped; for example, Michael with his face in a sling; or, for example, you, you who can’t sit or stand, so you crouch snuffling, suckling, mewling, sobbing, and picking the seeds from your tomatoes, or oiling your hair. You blame your slouch, your hunch on the bits of intestine, the smooth side of uterus your doctor sliced, sutured, and left untucked, unreinserted. So they rot, dangling red sinews from your vagina.

But I know.

You lie.

You lumber to where the pills are kept, the card table. Narcotic cocktails, baby powder, and your Post-its across it, you scan for a message from your times-past-self to your in-the-now-self for the hour of your last dose. Labeled receptacles filled with pills: Sunday, Thursday. I am watching from what is always light-bulb-to-go-number-two, and you do not watch it/me there, but your little lewd tongue gyrates against your moistening lips, witch, you incant the fuse to blow so you can say my name aloud again and again, so you can trap me here like Michael in the sling, in the television: subject to object and carcass to bulb.


Anne Marie Wirth Cauchon is the author of the novel Nothing, published by Two Dollar Radio Press in 2013. She received her MFA from the University of Montana and a MacDowell fellowship shortly thereafter. She is a PhD student in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota where she teaches writing and is the fiction editor of the literary journal dislocate. You can find other recent work at Noö, Juked, The Collagist, and The Destroyer. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and their daughter.