Ilari Pass

I Can See the Roar in You

There is something amazing about being a black writer
when you begin to make yourself visible

—Roger Robinson

Enter: The Mosquito

Their bodies felt him before their eyes saw him, the way gaps between stars whisper the invisible. The nervous whinnying of the horses began, readying themselves to bolt. They’d been shifting their weight from foot to foot ever since they’d first felt the tremors, and the sight of this creature pushes them over the edge from nervous to outright fear. Every monstrous step rattles the ground like an earthquake. “Look…the horses are running; look at the horses run,” bystanders shout…

It’s easy enough for me to just take off and head towards the direction from where the horses are running, wondering, what’s over there.

“Is it a beast?”  

I am used to seeing horses; running is no longer the draw for me. I have landed in the dark, comfortably invisible, perched atop the bumpy charcoal-gray, scaled dorsal ridge of existence. My death every day is the idea of being made invisible. I die of invisibility, devalued by lack of empathy. But the initial incision should be sharp, precise. Don’t hesitate. This will be the toughest part. Do you know how hard it is to end a thing? It takes some nerve. What I mean is, it’ll hurt, but I can get at what I crave if I want it badly enough.

 The Mosquito Confronts Godzilla: Go for the head

Line after line of whitecaps charge toward the shore, stumble and cut down in sight of the beach, sprawls on the sand.

A thought came to my mind: “What are you afraid of?”

“Him!” bystanders answered…

Before I even realized I’d spoken it out loud, No, Godzilla! If I can find out his fear, I can use it against him. Your indifference is my strength. I must show you how invisible you are to me because you are used to it. It is a power that I have forged myself  into. It’s some kind of life. Like being inside a funhouse with mirrors all around. You must see your loathing reflected in all shapes and sizes. Your head is in the way of directly seeing the image in the mirror behind you. Pools of water everywhere; wet dead leaves, spent shells, and debris on the paving of earth. It’s raining hard. And I am inviting you—quietly.

The Mosquito Targets The Belly

As the sky clears, the wind swells as Godzilla turns, stands tall between the sun and the clouds.

It’s like fighting a dragon, isn’t it? I’ve done that. Below its rubbery hide is the hatred I’ve been craving. Abhorrence alone holds the answers for this monster. A full-on assault would only make me acknowledge  that everything is a part of something bigger. This can’t go on much longer; it can go on forever.  I cannot die telling this story to myself in the dark. Come celebrate with me that everyday something has been trying to kill me and is failing. I can’t be anything but hopeful doing this work; I am not going to topple you but I am going to bite you.

...then moves to the tail

Everyone knows that to outrun Godzilla you sprint zigzag, but to catch him…

I will have to sneak up from behind, eyes without expression, droning on my monotone song.  Kneel on its back like a supplicant, and  brace myself against its hind end. I desire only your undesired—nuisance of a painful itch; my signature to follow. Forget everything. Blot out the memory of an unshaved ankle rubbing the calf under body-warmed sheets. There’s only the sweet, tangy hold of what I’ve been missing. Something savory about rancor I haven’t had in a long time. I will let the sharp tip of my straw-like mouth strike your skin to draw blood. Dive beneath that detestable smell. I will infect you. Wallow there, you solitary beast.

Finally, digest

Your roar acknowledges that you finally see me as you try holding yourself up. But all you can do is sit in the puddle of water, your head on your knees. I kept myself alive; I am now visible.

Ilari Pass holds a BA in English from Guilford College of Greensboro, NC, and an MA in English, with a concentration in literature, from Gardner-Webb University of Boiling Springs, NC. Her work appears or forthcoming in Paterson Literary ReviewRat’s Ass ReviewAs It Ought To BeTriggerfish Critical ReviewKissing DynamiteThe American Journal of PoetryUnlikely StoriesRigorous MagazineCommon Ground ReviewFree State ReviewRejection Letters, and others.