Terri Carrion


Cerebral Parsley

I’d like to recount a particular scene in this movie
           Theatrophobia…fear of theatres.

           It is an ordinary morning. There
to the left and over her desk
           Is the bedroom window— the window
           where everything begins.
Because one slat is missing from the blinds,
The light first falls
right onto the bed
           where she is sleeping.
                                 Eosophobia…fear of dawn or daylight.

There it is, that incredible slant
                                                   of light.

           My left foot is naked, but I ignore it.
                      I feel very small
                      Microphobia…fear of small things.
                      and insignificant.
                      Athazagoraphobia…fear of being forgotten or ignored.

           To me my feet were moving,
           Eerotophobia…fear of sexual love

Moist and pale
                      Leukophobia…fear of the color white.

The smell sweet,
odd and familiar as they lie
           as broken grey stone
                      Placophobia…fear of tombstones.

           We were each other’s plural then

On the white-curtained bed
           in Pensione Agnani, beaded
                                                   tainted mirrors,

Eisoptrophobia…fear of mirrors, of seeing oneself in a mirror.

           Precious metals
           too cheap
                      from tribal elders
                                 Chorophobia…fear of dancing.
                      Kinetophobia…fear of moving.

           You cried, went out
A tribe of flowers from their bud cases.
           Anthophobia…fear of flowers.

                  Later, eggs scrambled themselves in a hurry.
                                              Tachophobia…fear of speed,
                                                               Xanthophobia…fear of the color yellow.
We agreed;
some foods are vegetables
and some are not
                      Lachanophobia…fear of vegetables.
           Carnophobia…fear of meat.

Next thing you know, we are in the diner on the corner of Marsh and Blank streets,
Reading, and eating grilled cheese.

           Deipnophobia…fear of dining.

(I’ve found a way to arrange my plate so it keeps the book open
without my having to hold it)
                                            Bibliophobia…fear of books.

We listened to the jukebox
That some young kids kept putting quarters into,
           Melophobia…fear of music.
           Chrometephobia…fear of money.

It could have been any song, a familiar complaint tamed
by generations of repetition.
                                            “It was like the Beatles.”

           Mnemophobia…fear of memories,
                      Insectophobia…fear of insects

And I asked her if she’d ever like to get away with me.
           You know, for forever.
                      Apeirophobia…fear of infinity.

           She tells me the Coralliophilidae, or coral shells,
are a world wide family
           of tropical mollusks.

           Ostraconophobia…fear of shellfish.

The Latiaxis are extremely popular
           due to the diversity
                      of shapes and frilly spines.

           Aichmophobia…fear of needles and other pointed objects.

More than 15 genera are included in the family,
though the morphological characteristics
do not differ greatly among the species.

           Metathesiophobia…fear of changes.

Slowly, the eerie silence of the night
                                 Then the buzz
                                 of a lawnmower,

           Acousticophobia…fear of noise.
                      Mechanophobia…fear of machines.

           Followed by the rumble of the garbage truck,
           Ligyrophobia…fear of loud noises.

Suddenly the clock radio clicks on
           Chronomentrphobia…fear of clocks

She picks up the enormous cello and places it
           Between her legs.

                      Stenophobia…fear of narrow places.
           Eurotophobia…fear of female genitalia

The days passed and seemed to fold into each other.

                                                       Symmetrophobia…fear of symmetry.

                                           onto campus.

                Barophobia…fear of gravity,
                      Aurophobia…fear of gold.

I watched the weather shift

           Anemophobia…fear of wind,
                Ombrophobia…fear of rain,
                      Chionophobia…fear of snow.

Heat, thick as a blanket
into the room,
                      Eyes, hips, everything rounded to the moon.

           Selenophobia…fear of the moon.

Tongue touches tongue touches tongue

           Chiraptophobia…fear of being touched,
                      Philemaphobia…fear of kissing.

The unbelievable purifies, yet
We cannot name
           the constellations.

           Nomatophobia…fear of names,
                      Astrophobia…fear of celestial space.

We see
           what we see
                      without reaching        far.

Epistemophobia…fear of knowledge,

           Hedonophobia…fear of feeling pleasure.

                                 Eremophobia…fear of being oneself.


Quantum foam

is a celestial lubricant found in wormholes, which some scientists claim can help man slide forward or backward through space and time, like stepping on a banana peel or coating a finger with butter to remove a too tight wedding ring. Those that disagree say, like most rational people, that time travel is impossible, that time overlaps, so while I’m writing this sentence, it has already been rewritten, so to try to figure out how the words assembled themselves on the page is pointless, like trying to understand daily life back when the lightbulb meant electricity, back when I was still invisible and dry and my own quantum foam (which I assume is a slick, iridescent aura) had not yet achieved the effervescent quality needed for my body to slither through these suburban milkyways and repel strip-mall meteor showers. But what I want is to imagine this aural foam fully formed, a body halo or shield allowing me to hopscotch through the universe without erasing my own chalk lines. Sooner or later, when my foam is replaced by tar or glue, my body will wait to hurl itself into oblivion like a dying star, and I will leave behind a faint spark, a glint in the night, which will cross a stranger’s sight as they stare up into the sky and make a wish. Then, the dogs and elephants turning on the water on Saturn will bloom. Q-tips will unravel and the joy of crossing birth control off the long list of things I have to think about will become an endless knot of meditation or a spotless counter-top or too many hours spent yanking slot machine arms on Ladies Night at the Seminole Casino. My principles are not negotiable. If you need me I will be in the bathroom, on my knees, coating myself with a thick layer of cheap moisturizer and playing Scrabble with the moon.