Intertidal Scalpel Zone

This text was written for the artist book Isotonic Songs by Miroslava Večerová and Pavel Prikasky, 2019

Intertidal Scalpel Zone

On the pastel walls of the Dermatologist’s office waiting room there are posters depicting different skin disorders. The patients’ faces aren’t shown, only their inflamed body parts. Scaly arms and fingers. Red welts on a swollen leg. I get called in by the nurse and am asked to strip and lay back on the paper covered chair. I feel like a living fossil. I’m all cut up. I’m a barnacle with a scarred shell clinging to the side of another animal, a slow moving animal. The animal is Time and it doesn’t protect me from the elements, so I’m hit with everything that comes along. Sometimes pieces of my shell chip off and fall onto the sea floor.

The doctor comes in and gently touches a part of my shell that’s been hurting lately. It’s worn away enough to almost be transparent. On one spot there isn’t much difference anymore between outside and in. The thinner my shell becomes the more it hurts because my insides are begging and protesting desperately not to be exposed.

My blood changes colors depending on how human I feel. Most of the time it’s horseshoe crab blue. Most of the time I don’t meet anyone, and I don’t move.

She hovers above me in my chair and cuts me open. Today my blood is red and it spatters onto the tiled wall. She asks me why I don’t speak German, and I apologize.

I crawl out of the office with seven stitches but at least it was nothing serious.