1. Is this the humanimal question? No, it's a disc, transferring light from corner
to corner of the girl's eye. Like an animal tapetum / the way at night an animal.
Animal eyes, in the darkness of the back room where he kept her, his girl, deep in
the Home. 2. Where is the future child? Curled up with wolves, sub-red, the wolfgirl's
eyes changed structure. This is a boring word. Then, she's nine or ten, and a tall,
extremely handsome Father, sidetracked from his Mission–dressed in black despite the
heat–catches her in a bedsheet and writes: "I cut a hole and removed her from the
cave." 3. In Midnapure, in a back room, a jute bed is converted to a low cot. Strapped
in, the wolfgirl turns her face from the window. Are there windows? It's 1921, mid-November,
and I can't find her sometimes, on the other side of everything. Stresses of light–I
don't know how to change them, these amounts. This is absurd. I write on a piece of
paper all morning, then fold it in two.
a. All branches stir in their silver. Like a liquid metal–the jungle. For her, the
girl-tenticular. Does the skin crêpe, where her fingers are too wet, trailing in the
river? This is what a child does, as in fairytales. This is walking. I want to. All
branches fear life. It pushes and pushes: life. Out to the tips where the color is.
Does this happen in Asian forests? Does this tree say yes, damaged by its yes, to
phloem–the food to the lips? Of the branches where the leaves are and thus a leaf
girl–leaping from branch to branch in her dream of being a girl and not this, this
other disastrous thing?
4. This is the humanimal project. All the fingers are still inside the hands. A mother-to-be's
hips ache. In the forest behind her hut, the birds are so red, the wrong red, against
the bed of green. A forest is a bed for animals. When the rains come each June, these
animals make nets in the upper branches, suffering nightly–twitching–from an incomplete,
lunar darkness. It's the time before electricity. Those are not birds. They are wolves,
switching their glossy brown tails in the heat. As custom dictates, the woman gives
birth, then places her newborn girl on a shawl in the sun, massages her with coconut
oil, and leaves her there to bathe in the warm light. Lit up like that, the baby is
vulnerable, naked thus flesh-like, fleshed like prey, but flailing–four legs in the
air like pink, elongated stars. 5. Return to the work as memory. Say it is a wolf
becoming a girl, the action in reverse. I am not interested in animals. These questions
came towards me the way light does, and I felt them, felt where they came in my body
(turned into jam). 6. They strapped her down to the limited table where the knife
spun in a jar of blue water and oranges were lined up on a sill, like dried skulls,
for protection. There were marigolds and red threads from last Christmas knotted and
sewn into the curtains. They fed her with water from a coil of linen, squeezing it
into her mouth as they said her name: Kamala. What was your name? Then a raw, green
berry, sweeter than bread when followed by water. She spat and keened but. Unable.
The doctor came to her bed, hoping she had softened. With his packet of edges. Dipped
one into the glutinous foam and began. Her arms first. The thick dorsal hair, ashy.
What will, the Father said to the Reverend Mother, the congregation say?
b. Mist rose in cubes. With hard fingers, they tore strips from my spine. All blonde-black
fur. All hair from a previous life. They called it submerging. Phoneme and problem:
in the after. In the next room, where everyone is waiting, servants maneuver tall
wooden poles into the slitted flaps of canvas fans on the ceiling. They are paid to
do this by the church, like small men with hands. The Reverend Mother says dirty. Dirty boys. I am a girl, innards blue as...eyes–I don't know. They said the wolf
my mother protected me then fled, backwards into her blood. No birth they said: No
mother. This is a road like a scrubbed, pink bone. I walk for days but cannot find