The Parasite Lives and Grows

By: Rachel Franklin

Once upon a time Goliath fell.
They built buildings on his body
and David walked away without looking back
didn’t know his victory
until he moved
opened the door
to have his pebble drop at his feet
looked up and his apartment was
the white pulp of a gigantic eye dripping blood.

David is meant for spaces
muddy brooks, gaping skies
flanked by open, gnashing trees
skies that swallow
cigarette smoke, pollen dust, and sweat.
He wants to go where the government doesn’t care
where you can flick the paperwork
off like straggling hay.

David does not want to know he is living
off others’ misery, will not swim where
there are leeches.
But he lies down in a bed, in a carcass
with white walls, strings up the eyelids
for a shower curtain.
The water is not salty
but the air conditioner sounds like fading breaths.

David does his laundry every Thursday
and ignores the centipede next to him
dropping sock after sock into his washing machine.
He doesn’t watch TV much.
Sometimes he browses the paper
and when he’s driving
mentally takes pictures of “for rent” signs.
He got an air freshner a few days ago.
It makes the rot smell like cinnamon.

David keeps his pebble on the dresser by the bed