Selections from Inferior Normal

Selections from Inferior Normal

By Tyler Orion


I can’t stop wanting to be fire. I am stalking

myself through my ashen mind. I am waiting for

stillness. I’ve picked a thread loose and am pulling

apart the weave of my cocoon. Of course we are

birthed from salty water. Before creation there

was ocean. The border of ocean and body is a

scream that sounds like a crab ticking through sand.

I can’t stop flying, my shoes are falling off into the

sea. I didn’t know I existed until I did. For a moment

even the waves stop. I count down from ten, bite into

my finger until it is blue. My mind is so blue. I hum a

low drone in the back of my throat: there’s an earthquake

in the Atlantic that sends whales into space. I fear for

all their space. There’s too much room in the universe.



I feel his zipper against the back of my thighs. When I

can’t sleep he is lying there behind me. Rubbing my

back, hot breath in my ear. He thinks he is calming

me to sleep. I never fall asleep when he is there.

Only after he leaves. I learn to make my breath sound

like I am sleeping. He still talks about how he helped

me to fall asleep. I let him think he did no harm. I forgot

these things until now. I wonder if my memory is faulty.

I wonder why I question my memory. Maybe this is why

I am scared of the dark. The door just over my shoulder,

a cheap plywood door. It opens then closes and someone

has entered. The bed depresses behind me. I am facing

the wall. I can still see the texture of the off-white paint.

I am curating my body for survival.



I am haunting, hunting myself. I am almost no

longer afraid of the dark. I catch my body and

am skinning myself to find the scars on the inside.

I am poking through the muscles and bones and carefully

lifting the veins. I am sifting my blood. Pulling at teeth.

In that room behind the plywood door I left pieces

of myself. There are small piles of skin flaked off

of my body that hide in the corners under the carpet.

I don’t know who lives in that house now but they are

living with pieces of me. They are living with refuse

from an inferior body. I release my body into the empty.

I am undone by fear, the savageness of my mind.

I have not yet died from suicide. The edge keeps moving.

I am curating my body for survival.



Take off my skin and drape it on a hanger in

the closet. Pull out the veins gently and lay

them on a second hanger. They will wiggle like

jellyfish arms. Collect muscles and organs into

an empty shoebox. Place the heart and brain

in their own boxes. Be gentle with the coil of

intestines. When there is only a tumble of bones

left, bury them all deep in the ground except the

finger bones. Use these for frets on a banjo.

Push the hangers along the metal rod until they

are in the furthest corner. Hear the music of metal

screeching on metal. Stack the shoe boxes in the

darkest shadows. Close the closet door. Breathe

easier knowing I have been disassembled.

Available in Limited Edition Broadsides

We are over the moon for Tyler Orion. “Selections from Inferior Normal” is their very first publicaton, and we are honored to not only publish it in our digital magazine, but in limited edition letterpress broadsides from Montpelier, Vermont’s May Day Studio.

Tyler Orion

Tyler Orion is a writer and visual artist living in rural northern Vermont. Their work looks at the relationship between queer and trans embodiment and the natural world. Orion has studied at Goddard College and the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and works at a small, independent bookstore.

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