Disquieting Muses with Pets and Fruit: A Still Life

by | Aug 8, 2023 | Fiction, Issue Thirty-Four

after Remedios Varo’s “Vegetarian Vampires”

The bistro table and chairs are too tall and thin to be stable, so it’s good that these three are physically flimsy. Some might say they lack all substance, but I don’t see it that way. Their predecessors tortured the Poet with the constant nodding of their mouthless darning-egg heads. Always implying, Never good enough. But these have wide mouths with bulldog jaws. Do vegetarians need to clamp and tear? To chew aggressively? Their eyes sharp, noticing every passive construction, urging me to assert myself with the alphabet as they sit calmly, sucking in the blood of their victims. I admit I am not a fruit person, so the watermelon and tomatoes are meaningless. Why keep pets on leashes if you don’t expect them to mind? Does a chicken mind being eaten? Does a cat despise being mistaken for a rooster? And if these three disintegrate into compost, are the jaws and eyeballs left behind, still criticizing every move I make? I’ll slash every melon open and let its red juice saturate the rich sandy loam beneath.  But, no, without their sustenance, who will they turn to? Perhaps I can drop this cage onto them as they feed. Inside the pen, they will still nitpick and scream at me. What is a poet to do?

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