Parenthetical Question

Strange marks have begun to appear on my arms. Like birthmarks, they’re bare of hair, raised like welts into an embossed design. It has been suggested that I might be a victim of alien abduction. I chew on this idea until it is nothing but gristle. Does it happen while I sleep? Might it be happening right now?

The design spreads slower than a vine and faster than fire: slower than a vine because it doesn’t grow at all when watched, not even by the breadth of an eyelash; faster than fire because it doesn’t depend on oxygen but feeds upon inattention, which is limitless. Each mark is a nearly perfect section of an arc, so the overall design resembles — if I may put it crudely — a clusterfuck of parentheses.

And among all the other questions one might raise about this, I find myself wondering most of all: Why my arms? I hug myself and rock, forward and back.

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