¿es el cenote profundo? | Ezra Glenn | The Hypocrite Reader

Ezra Glenn

¿es el cenote profundo?


All flooded skulls of earth are batik t-shirts on a wire [and so am I]—
which is not to say flat, waxed, or rainbow jaguars are the depths
or particulate-obscured caverns with my face down-flat in them
sucking the sky through a fat straw,
praying no murk pass between my lips, but
holes get worn in us just as easily, or rather hardly, as in them.

All textures want for touch,
but flippers on the rocks form a necessary barrier—
my means of propulsion cum catalyst for withered visibility, literally muddying the waters,
except the mud was born a wet and dusty plant—
Can I kiss this sacrificial basin through a dental dam?

I admit I am terrified of the bottoms of wet depths, even more than of opening a door to find someone just as startled on the other side. Perhaps these are equivalent fears; the moss was expecting neither the bobbing brush of me nor its own forced displacement.

I am saved only by my webbed and rubberized foot-extensions.

Here I am, the wax keeping color out again.
I hadn't known this cultural relevance, it gets spun spontaneously before me.
“This is the moon-god,” the salesman tells me.
“This is the jaguar.”
I repeat it all.


I put on the shirt and reflect—
is the gunk of this afternoon still on my hair, in my skin? Probably not:
it was the very soaking by acid deluge that brought me to this purchase, shivering in spite of the ancient chile burn in my mouth, a stark and shitty contrast. Plus it was holy gunk anointing me, rich with the traditions of an invisible civilization. Maybe I'll name my daughter Maya, after the blonde I called my girlfriend in first grade; we were in a polyamorous relationship with the brunette Gabriella. Then I'll unclench my mouth and suck her ancient water into my lungs, ascend her pyramid, and apologize to everyone I ever sacrificed.

Illustration by Jon O'Neill