Danielle Lea Buchanan | Morcella

MORCELLA

Morcella is her name and we’re twelve in Miss Conway’s science class talking kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species of the kangaroo.

Her name is Morcella and I sit behind her and she wears a purple push-up bra before any girl has anything to push against gravity. It glows constellations under her white Jesus is my Homeboy T-shirt that gravitates through St. Francis Charter School’s halls because she’s asked Miss Conway to the use restroom so I ask Miss Conway too.

Her name is Morcella and her legs are ironed out tapioca pearls that strut past lockers and she smells like a warm, polyvinyl waterbed and lavender as I follow behind her. Bouncing, Morcella’s hair is made in a French chef’s kitchen, each strand of it perfectly sheared in a mandolin, collapsing at non-ashed elbows like brunette zucchini. Her name is Morcella and

I say “Morcella! Wait.”

Her lighter fluid gaze spurts at me. As if what I’m about to say to her must be nothing short of a lit matchstick. Morcella creases at me like I’m the last, hazy row of an optometric eye exam.

“Wait, what?” Morcella asks.

“How does it feel?” I ask.

“How does what feel?” she says, waving a yellow wooden banana above her head, our hall pass.

“Your body,” I say, waving my yellow wooden banana over my head while looking down at my own body, my stomach like mounted squirrel skin over the head of a banjo rim. My stomach resonates too, as if the baby folds of it create a sound as they tuck into another fold. My form is forming.    

Morcella walks towards me, pointing the yellow wooden banana like it’s a Colt 32 and barrels it into my chest that hasn’t really caution: road-bumped yet. I’m terrified of the wooden banana. As if potassium is curved, shaped into a parenthesis with a real trigger..

“You know?” she asks, unloading the banana. “I saw you following me.”

Her name is Morcella and she teeters on rage’s tip, most beautiful flushed. We’re a banana apart and this is Morcella and her teeth are Tylenol white that I’d crush dryly with my teeth and without water swallow.   

“Ya,” I say. “I saw you saw me. Does that mean I can’t follow anymore?”

“Nothing even hurts,” Morcella says, looking to the ground.

Sometimes, I put my sister’s blow-dryer between my legs on warm, low speeds and say “Morcella.”

“Morcella?” Miss Conway asks, sticking her head outside the classroom door. You had to relieve yourself, yes?”

Miss Conway doesn’t see my stomach or me or ask how I got a second yellow wooden banana because Morcella is Morcella.

“When you follow,” Morcella says, “you follow all the way. No leaving when you can’t look anymore.” Morcella never walks past someone, but through them. Her ribcage cages through mine back toward Miss Conway’s class and our bones scrape into calcium dust, wafting into tiny poofs down our bodies to the toes. Then she’s gone and all that’s left is her name: Morcella.  

I hang my yellow wooden banana on the stall latch. In my panties are three dollops of alabaster jellies. Spooning my finger in them, I put my finger on my tongue. It tastes like electrocoated salt and I say “Morcella” with my finger in my mouth. I skip recess for a Britannica. Her name is Morcella and it’s a Portuguese blood sausage also known as black pudding that’s cooked with fat, sweet potato, and oatmeal, then left to congeal overnight.

After school, the usual: follow Morcella. I do lots of dodging, crawling, ducking, peering through though Morcella says she saw me and I saw her see me so it’s true. To be inconspicuous is to blend into what you hide behind so I get to know many bushes, trees and shrubs native to my state of Oregon: Chain Fern, Fringecup, Bunchberry, Deerfern, Solomon Seal, Mock Orange, Salmon Berry, Swamp Rose.

Once, in chemistry, Morcella wore teal parachute pants. I walked up to her as she beakered vinegar into some element of the periodic table that wouldn’t combust Mr. Tennin said, but just smoke.  

“Hello, Morcella,” I said to Morcella.

She didn’t reply but pulled plastic goggles from the top of her head over her eyes like I was radium dangerous due to splatter.   

“I have something for you,” I said, holding Tupperware in my palms.

Looking in the flask, she asked “what is it?”

The Tupperware lid exhaled as I parted its suctioned lips. Inside: a hotdog cut into little cubes. A large squirt of ketchup. Dry peaches and cream oatmeal. A potato. The closest to blood sausage I had, I pulled out to two sporks.

“It’s you,” I said.

She gazed at me and took the goggles off. “That shits nasty.”

Looking back, I wanted to understand what we were made of. If a name had ingredients. If my body reacted to her body then I could come to know me if I watched hers. Looking back, to be in dispossession of oneself and return not is what I wanted. My name is Sam.  

Then, the bell rang and lines formed. “Adam?” “Here.” “Morcella?” “Here.” “Jocelyn?” “Here,” and etcetera. Everyone squeezed out a red door and I did too though no one called my name.

Her name was Morcella and English ivy marathoned up her shutters, her doorknob was brass. Honeysuckle fainted over the wrought iron fence as if in desire to be daggered. That day, bunnies hopped under the trampoline and burrowed their heads. Finches shot-gunned out a willow and even a cloud seemed to pull itself apart into a train of ice crystals that locomoted away from Morcella’s that day I followed her to follow through and look into her basement window into, ultimately, me. Looking back, even nature fled from what feeds on it.

I remember I laid on the leaves which detonated like M 80’s under my stomach. There was a window and I’d look through it. I don’t know her name but Morcella’s sister had a green water gun in her hand that dripped down her legs. I didn’t know her name either but Morcella’s mother’s arms were raised and her mouth wouldn’t close but vibrated something that glass muted. I remember my throat felt it swallowed Roman Candle after Roman Candle. I can’t remember his name but Morcella’s father pushed Morcella’s head again and again and again into the wall. I remember thinking her name is Morcella and this doesn’t happen to those. I remember thinking Morcella’s mind would pulp against that hard, hard surface. I couldn’t see Morcella, just a what’s-her-name and the back of her head and the color the broken of it made on white—smearing into everything I was made of. Congealing there. Congealed there.

.

.


Danielle Lea Buchanan’s work poetry, hybridities, collaborative art, fiction, book reviews, interviews, teaching guides and oddities have appeared or are forthcoming in McSweeney’s, Mid-American Review, Anomaly’s Radical: Avant Garde Poets of Color, New Orleans, Puerto del Sol, New Delta Review, Noemi Press, Psychopomp, Hobart, New York, and other elsewheres. She was shortlisted for the Master Review’s 2016 Fall Fiction contest judged by Kelly Link, and winner of Passages North’s 2017 Ray Ventre Nonfiction prize selected by Jenny Boully.

2017-12-04T13:10:43+00:00 November 29th, 2017|