Facultative Friends by Matt Alexander

Facultative friends will grow inside your intestine like microbiota, as an active culture of rape and pillage and the types of violence we allow our thirteen-year-olds and hookworms to watch on the silver screen, but despite their apparent innocuousness they will eat away all your food as you ingest it, as you atrophy away and then your friends will sell you for bush meat in Africa. Then they will kill an elephant even though they are endangered, but at the same time that doesn’t matter because the preapocalyptic world is so fecund before the storm to melt away our sins and purify all but the most thermophillic of bacteria and all will be mostly good again like the garden of Eden and ironically the sinistral side of Earthly delights; yum, though I don’t have a taste for that anymore, like red curry paste after what happened with the underdone fish last Easter. We are all endangered, but the tusks, they fetch a hefty sum, and your facultative friends will sell the ivory which will end up as the keys of a baby grand to one far-off day produce the lilting loveliness of Schumann’s tone poem “Eusebius” as a self-portrait filled with starts and stops, starts and stops that look up though; of bashful insecurity and melancholy chords building towards that sort of spectral, ghostly covenant with someone named God; hard to grasp, intangible and slippery, but conducive to new things and even that mysterious affliction called “listening” whose solid tonic roots stretch deep inside the Earth like death and members and always will, come what heat and waters may as the blue rain of electrocutory dreams churn up the change that tells us no matter—or solid thing to clutch, behold—how sad we are, at least we are still alive.

Matt Alexander is a scientist and writer in Philadelphia. When struck by insight, he shouts “Bazinga!”, not “Eureka!”, although he has nothing against Archimedes and is in fact himself an avid bath-taker. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Maudlin House, After the Pause, and Five2One Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @thenamesmatta.