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Smoked Carp

by Anne Germanacos


Do you play games of hazard?

                                           ~

Have you ever abandoned a baby?

                                           ~

Would you dress up to personify a dread disease?
Would you walk through the lamplit night as cholera?

                                           ~

Are you the kind of shopper who wears dark glasses?
Do you hide your eager, dilated pupils?

                                           ~

Have you ever been caught with your hand in the jar?

                                           ~

Do you bathe in cold water? Do you ask your dentist to skip the novocaine?

                                           ~

Do you listen to music to lose your ego?

                                           ~

Do you sometimes ache for a clear blue line?

                                           ~

Have you ever lost your empathy?

                                           ~

Do you ever, or often, see red?

                                           ~

Can you pinpoint a faux-pas? Do you consider it your prerogative to make them?

                                           ~

When you see a monkey reaching for a banana, do your cells fire?

                                           ~

Would you consider the gag reflex empathy?
Emotional contagion?

                                           ~

Do you occasionally think about runs in stockings?

                                           ~

Would you think of sex as letting off steam?
Do you call it that to his face?

                                           ~

Everyone’s recipe is someone else’s, or are you going to tell me that this one is your invention?

                                           ~

Do you often converse with the dead?

                                           ~

Do you like our kind of food, or theirs?

                                           ~

Do you tend to go from feast to famine?
Then back again?

                                           ~

Are you the barbarian, or am I?

                                           ~

Are you authentic?

Who says?

                                           ~

Do you find expensive plumage unnecessary?
And the peacock, too, unnatural?

                                           ~

Do you violate the grid?

                                           ~

Do you rub the bald heads of statues as you pass?

                                           ~

If you were a pawnbroker, would you accept gold teeth?

                                           ~

Do you avoid the fee collector?

                                           ~

Are people frightened of you?

                                           ~

Do you consider yourself spiritually radiant? Grandly worldly?

                                           ~

Madame, is that a jewel box or a tomb?

                                           ~

Do you put your faith in the Virgin, the saints?

                                           ~

It’s true, isn’t it? No one joins a cult.

                                           ~

Have you ever watched a beheading?

                                           ~

Does your carriage bear an imperial certificate of safe conduct?

                                           ~

What is your definition of a heretic?

                                           ~

Do you consider yourself blessed?

                                           ~

Do you see yourself as upright or crooked?

                                           ~

Do you pull on a rope to bring up a bucketful?

                                           ~

Do you know any acrobats?

                                           ~

What do you barter?

                                           ~

What do you keep in your pockets, just in case?

                                           ~

How do you get rid of your ungodly excess?

                                           ~

Do you eat meat while they’re watching?

                                           ~

Do you slam the door in the census taker’s face?

                                           ~

Are you disgusted by what’s asymmetric?

                                           ~

Have you ever been chloroformed?

                                           ~

Was that you piling your jewelry at the foot of an icon, praying to conceive?

                                           ~

When will you consume the last teaspoonful?

                                           ~

How will you finish the conversation?

                                           ~

Do you think of yourself as being mostly a mouth?

                                           ~

Just a warm cunt?

                                           ~

Do you agree with Miletus that magnets have souls?

                                           ~

Have you ever wielded a fistful of stones?

                                           ~

Is defense your number one issue when you vote?

                                           ~

Do you sing full body?
Do you speak in tongues?

                                           ~

What do you appropriate?

                                           ~

Do you long to resuscitate dying songs?

                                           ~

Do your fans bring chocolate?

                                           ~

Would you slaughter the herd to prevent it from dying of thirst?

                                           ~

Do you come from a home where there was never enough?

                                           ~

Is that your finger in the pot?
Is that your tongue in the soup?
Are those your teeth around the bone?

                                           ~

Do you know any killjoys?

                                           ~

To you, is a placebo a lie?
If it works?

                                           ~

When do you go blind?
When does your psyche cut off sight?

                                           ~

How much of a disguise would you need before you were unrecognizable to yourself?

                                           ~

Who were you in the enormity of the cathedrals’ construction?

                                           ~

Where do your loyalties lie?

                                           ~

Are your memories images or propositions?
Are they carried in muscle and bone?

                                           ~

Do you know anyone who waits for the right sort of light?

                                           ~

Do you get sick much?
Do you take refuge in your illnesses?

                                           ~

Do you sometimes think being a mother is bad news?

                                           ~

Have you been long under surveillance?

                                           ~

Are you the kind of person who scratches others out of the picture, or the kind who gets scratched out?

                                           ~

Do you know any warlords?

                                           ~

Are you part of a tribe?

                                           ~

Do your animals fight?
And your tribesmen—are they killers?

                                           ~

What would you do with reams of classified documents?
Would you ever think to use them to smoke your carp?

                                           ~

And now that we’re here together, let me ask:
Are you merely my type? Or someone truly special?

 

Anne Germanacos’s novel, Tribute, will be published by Rescue Press in 2014. Her collection of short stories, In the Time of the Girls, was published by BOA Editions. She and her husband live in San Francisco and on Crete. (4/2013)


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