Misnamed

 Commercial science fiction subverts the most mundane ideas of the familiar, woos and consoles us: you who were buried by your white picket fence, you alone can imagine the dimensions of the universe contorted. Your private narcissisms have their public moment, as time compresses to turn your generation flat, unknowing. Not I, you think.

I know that you and I are made of analogous molecules, ash and blood and plastic, but my friends and I spent our childhood trying to climb your fence. You never saw those desperate scratches on its outside–that border wall, we bodiless immigrants. You never saw our palms slick with sweat, the desperate vicious contortions of our faces as we kicked the heads of the children just below us or dug our nails into the shins of the children above. We saw you through the cracks, baseball gloves on, watching Nickelodeon. We studied you at school. We bathed in tubs of sodium hypochlorite and chalk.

Can you taste the bleach when you run your tongue along my fingers, under hardened nail beds? Could you imagine the thickness of the air, the dull obscuring fog on my shore where my weather app always reads cloudy or smoky or hazy? I read you like history, but you cannot pronounce the first sound of my name. As our flesh dissolves it parts in a biblical puddle of moisture, separated by the mangled sound of my misname sighed against my lips. You are proud, proud to be decoding this alien puzzle. I am inscrutable, a breathing spectre of your lazy science fiction.