inessential by Brent Simmons

What it’s like here in the lab

The air smells richly of lavender and venison. There’s a peregrine falcon perched on my left shoulder.

The bonfire in the closet, now on its 1,019th day, shows no signs of burning out.

I can hear, but faintly, the screams, shrieks, lamentations, and phone calls of the damned coming up through the hot air register.

The at-one-time category-five filing-cabinet hurricane has been downgraded all the way to topical storm.

The resident family of ceiling chipmunks is behind on their rent. Freeloaders.

My assistant Igor is wearing leather footie pajamas, even though I keep it at a comfortable 98.6 in here. Just looking at him steams my feathers.

While he stirs a giant vat of chicken noodle soup that I’ve been aging for a fortnight, I’m hunched over NetNewsWire, trying not slice myself with my surgical instruments, wondering if that one finger will grow back quickly, wondering if I can go out in public with this new third eye.

There are ferrets.