There is a rumble beneath the dormant kernels of wheat like hunger during the fast from humanity. Kernels of wheat germinate when the water content in the grain is about 35 to 45 percent by weight. The embryo struggles for food, pushing out the root searching for moisture.

There is a parasite in my mind, it pervades and perseveres and keeps me unique and alone, swimming in the blood of humanity, the words and thoughts that effuse from the wearers of flowered linen suits and dresses.

There is a whisper slicing through the bones buried deep in the mass graves in the field. Voices of the past offer words and stories forgotten beneath propaganda. Words from the grandparents are brushed off like dandruff on a black dress in October. ‘Can’t you laugh, grandma?’ ‘Can’t you smile, grandpa?’

There is an absence of memory, of history in the mind of the parasite. The parasite repeats again, and again, and again. Latch on, devour and consume, procreate and propagate, over and over, and over. The parasite is nameless.

There is a tear rushing through the heart like a kayak rolling over rapids in spring landing on the porous neutral soil. The soil absorbs the tear of the child, the grandparent, the nation, and the world. The embryo swells, its strength derived from starch, like the starched shirt props up the fearful child who grasps the hand of an unknown aunt before laying a rose on a stained wooden box.

There is a parasite in my mind that consumes my memory, my history, my heritage. The heritage is crumpled beneath the rubble and piles of twisted rebar and concrete shards. The parasite is never satiated.

There is a coleoptile to break the surface of the soil. Coleoptiles are the armor that protects the first leaf of the seedling derived from the swollen embryo. The mustiness of spring, the dank dirt filled with rows of dilapidated boxes, shudders when the surface breaks.

There is a child with my eyes, my cheekbones, and my mouth. There is a tearless child with my face beside the crushed chaff. There is a face that doesn’t know how to smile. There is a parasite that gobbles memory over and over like a cliched bottomless pit. There is a nameless parasite in your mind that is hungry.

Carol Ann Parchewsky

Carol Ann Parchewsky is a writer based in Calgary, Alberta. She received her MFA in Fiction at Queens University of Charlotte and her Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, from the University of Saskatchewan. She is working on her first novel and a short story collection. Her fiction is published in and forthcoming in On the Run, Flash Boulevard, Drunk Monkeys, Stanchion, and The Drabble Advent Calendar.

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