Ruling Paper, Isabelle B.L., [2023:41]

Palmate feet settle on my forehead—a soft, sandy white surface. Invaders land, denting the silence. Their wheels move back and forth, causing three permanent horizontal lines on my virginal skin. Seagulls circle my head like a halo, then dive bomb. Flaxen ammunition hits their plumage, and they plummet, sliding down my nose, somersaulting from my breasts, dead at my feet. Gull heads regress, beaks open wide as if in a fit of laughter, but up above, my eyes downturn, lips convulse, and a light shower falls upon the dead birds.

Invaders dislodge my neck muscles. I lay down on a mahogany desk. A fir-green desk pad pillows my head.

“There, now we can pen claims to this territory. I hereby declare…”

Their quills rise and fall. Arabesques, jétes, pliés deliver on lined stages and impress the crowd.

“Encore, encore.”

“The invasion is for your good. You will see how great civilization is. Stubborn one, isn’t she? Tie her up. Strip her naked. Let us put her in her place.”

But they run out of space. My burning cheeks are off-limits.

I gulp down water, exfoliate, and turn my face away from the sun’s rays. Night-time moisturizer is fabulous for smoothing out unwanted facial lines. Only I will write my destiny. Feathered friends and webbed feet caress the soft, sandy white surface again. Litter free. I am no longer an endangered species. My body—a sanctuary—a demilitarized zone, so back off.

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