Prose Poem by Kim Silva

“The Pariah”
             By Kim Silva

The pariah grows without limitations; with satin fur and glossy fins, with dark green veins in the leaves for pushing, for kneading, for making milk flow. Circus days over. No longer will he jump through hoops of fire. Or seek the favors of those with long legs and arms and heads that sit like peanuts upon their stems. All kinds of animals—neighing, barking, scrabbling, snuffling—peacocks’ harsh cry like claws on bark; crocodiles simmering in a guttural pot of swamp. Pariah’s natures blend and integrate in his body. He lacks a skin; he lacks a computer brain. But, his heart beats like footsteps on solid earth. Neighbors shout, their white teeth flashing, chewing up their lawns to a one-inch carpet. Trees erased from memory in twenty minutes. Leaves blown and brushed and snorted in white lines. Butterfly cocoons boiled alive, making soup that giggles in the pot. Animals gleaming and pink-skinned in the fridge, dripping watery, pale lines of blood onto the tiled floor. The fox is a bear is a whale was once a lizard. Is a mountain. Is cold skin like a dynamite-blast.  Is a green forest, raped and left for dead. Crippled scenery like corpses left to rot. The pariah dives from his pot through the living room window to the outside, towards the driveway, into the bed of rhododendrons. Splintered glass sparkles like diamonds all over the sleeping street and snoring lawns. The neighbors fly awake—the pariah; mangy, nasty, ticks, fleas. Rabies! The community communes—guns, knives, poisoned bait, steel traps. Don’t sleep, watch out for your pets. The pariah stumbles. His eyes sting. Tall steps; he feints left and right, through poisoned rivers, over bald forests. Scoops up coyotes and wolves that tremble behind trees. Using their eyes full of bullets, the neighbors aim at the creatures. Down go wolves, down go foxes, down go squirrels, possums. Down go talking rocks, big shots, semen in the cooler, down go grizzlies in their dens. Arms and legs and fists and spit. Darkness and moisture, poisoned earthworms. The pariah keeps running, past lazy boys and plywood splinters. The animals tumble and fall and scatter. The pariah casts a shadow like a long amnesiac, a twilight nap; picking up each and every hated and feared creature. Tucks them under his wings, disappears into clouds full of golf balls and missing shoes. A pariah who is a fox is a bear is a whale is a bird is a pariah. Flying to a gossamer hole in the sky, which opens like a mouth to swallow them all. And the carcasses are carried by the living up up up into the split hole of gossamer silk showing the brilliant blue that lies beyond and all the animals go through the hole and when it is done the hole closes up and the seam is seamless. And the streets are left empty and there is no sound to be heard, except of course for the eternal sound of the blower of leaves.

- Kim Silva is an artist and writer who lives in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated with an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, and with a BFA in Writing and Painting from Vermont College. She has focused on painting for years and now prioritizes writing, especially prose poems which are highly imagistic. She is vegan for the animals. Her writings and artwork have been highlighted or upcoming in publications such as Gone Lawn, unbroken, MONO Literary Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Litbreak, Poor Yorick, BarBar, and others. Nominated for Best of the Net 2023. “The Pariah” was previously published in the South Florida Poetry Journal, and you can hear Kim reading the work Here.

Copyright©2023by Kim Silva. All Rights Reserved.