Kidding

Hibah Shabkhez

If this is an equation, I am the X: you are the Y. In all the simultaneous solvings, it is the Y that dies so that we may learn the true worth of the X. Then, then, only then, do we learn the value of the Y. But here the chuckles of ‘kidding, kidding!; hound X out instead, with half-apologies as sponges for its little missing things, voids, saignant by virtue of their absences. And if the sponge becomes too bloated to mop up everything, if it begins to ooze, the floor answers its dripping with ‘you can’t take a joke, you’re whining’, and other echoes of uttered words clattering like knives. So I rest my eyes on the green of the grass and the green of the dollar, on the colour that asks for nothing, and for everything. I force ‘I am drying some seaweed for lunch, but I will go on plasticking the ocean’ into the ABCD tune, and remember how shipwrecked children draw shipless seas until they can draw no more, until they become the waters, carrying the weight of the world’s drowned on their lurching shoulders. Je suis personne et une personne. I write their lament in math-words, and cut open the absurd. I am the variable always solved for first, except here, except now, except in this grotesque pair of equations. If I am indeed the clown, you must laugh at, not with me. Remember?