To the Artist's Page To our home page
To Annalynn Hammond's previous piece To Annalynn Hammond's next piece
What Pus Does To Us As a child, I would obsessively pick the scabs on my knees and elbows. Each flake, each crusty nugget, peeled away to reveal the glistening pulp beneath. Squeezed until red turned to white and then red again. For weeks, until my entire knee was a sheer slab of glassy green. As it dried, I would peel it off in thin strips like dragonfly wings, then look proudly at the smooth purple skin beneath. A few years ago, in a Georgia stable, I helped my boss inspect a lemon-sized lump, under her horseís chin. As she pressed, expecting the firmness of tumor, a strange squish made her fingers curl back just before it burst and a waterfall slapped and sloshed at hooves and feet. We jumped, stomachs turning, even she, a stout farm girl, raised in manure. After the vet, she sent me back to the barn with a bleach-gun. Clear rivers broke milky white, then everything dampened to an even brown. Last week, I found a monstrous abscess in my cat Cucumberís neck. I chased her around the room, pus pouring like syrup from the quarter-sized hole. I bombarded her with crumpled flowers of toilet paper, until it stopped and I could see in to arteries and esophagus. The stitches come out next week, and then all thatís left will be a puckered worm of a scar. The other night I had a dream, where I wiggled a loose tooth with my tongue, and then plucked it from its bed and swallowed it like a kernel of popcorn. I went to the mirror and slowly pulled a long corkscrew of black coral from where the tooth had been. Pus ballooned from the mouth of the wound, into a pearly orb. I kept watching, my tongue flapping in creamy saliva.
To the top of this page