Munch IV by Kyle Hemmings

The enemy has devised a new way to rout us: They’re setting our clocks back by means of invisible hands and remote frequencies. This means we can never be 100% sure who we were before or then. Like the enemy we try committing inflicting domestic atrocities—hacking each other’s sex lives but only coming away dry and wrinkle-free. In nowhere or anywhere, nobody is freer than anyone else. We study the jagged veins on the back of our hands for soulful mysteries, when in reality, there is only win-loss, loss-loss, loss-[stupid-hope]. Wind and aftermath. Upstairs in a corner of an attic room that even the spiders have abandoned, Munch sits in a catatonic shell, hands folded, fingers hopelessly intertwined, as if he is imitating his grandmother in the famous family portrait before the enemy shelled everything with anti-matter and sold the remains on eBay. Outside, in the opaque rain, women are marching arm-in-arm, suffragette style, down the street, chanting WE WILL NOT BE SCORCHED! I check Munch for a palpable pulse, try to convince him to eat more protein. Slowly he is turning to deep fat and irreversible liquid. He’s stopped growing hair. I place a virtual reality headset over him. It’s programmed to take him back to a childhood he never had, to groves of ginkgo trees and smiling one dimensional mothers carrying baskets and boxes of detergent. To a girl with peanut butter on her knees, who lies about her first name and that she inherited her dimple from a storm. A smile spreads across Munch’s face, refuses to fade. I remove the headset. He doesn’t open his eyes. He will never open his eyes.

Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Elimae, Smokelong Quarterly, This Zine Will Change Your Life, Blaze Vox, Matchbook, and elsewhere. His latest collections of poetry/prose is Future Wars from Another New Calligraphy and Split Brain on Amazon Kindle. He loves 50s Sci-Fi movies,  manga comics, and pre-punk garage bands of the 60s.