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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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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