I lost my left arm. Since then I’ve been off balance. When it fell off I thought of the number seven. I found myself wanting to touch the earth with the feelings I no longer have. I found myself wanting to touch the earth with the feelings I have left.
I walk to places where the sidewalk upturns. Becomes sideways. Spirals off into the sky.
I count each step. One through seven. I hope, when I end, I feel seven.
I count. First two. Then four. Then three. Then one. Then five. Then six. Not seven.
I’ve yet to find the place I need to be and how far away from it I need to start in order to end on seven. It makes it hard to keep moving forward. It reminds me of the time I fell through a clock. I twisted through ticks of a grandfather and fell through the hands of a storyteller and cut my cheeks on gears. And teeth. This is similar to the time I caught a shark--which happened b accident but was considered impressive.
To make up for the loss of my left arm I became aware of my neck. This began on a walk. First two. Then three. Then four. Sideways, I thought: there it is. Undoubtedly. The muscles of my neck.
She’s a wasp!
And seven remains a good number for a collection of things.
The wasp lives by crawling from my ear to my mouth. She moves in tiptoed creeps. She has six legs, which is just shy of seven, but she makes up for it with good advice. But. She remains a creep and I take a creep’s advice. So long as I don’t say, “My neck is a wasp, my neck is a creep,” people don’t notice what’s become of me. Instead they kiss the creep and the kiss creeps.
I thought of the number seven and it quickly became a fixation. seven seven seven. If there was going to be something perfect it’d come in the number seven. Unfortunately, I don’t know what seven looks like. So sometimes I pretend I know what seven feels like.
She speaks to my ear in whispers. The wasp. She doesn’t mind if I reject her. She doesn’t mind if I use her. She knows she’s something to be feared. She likes that I like fear. She’s a dangerous thought that travels along the curve of my body that you can’t see but thinks about you.
If I drive in fall when the weather is orange. I think about the decisions I’ve made. Like inviting my neck to become a wasp. And chopping my arm off to escape a wrist ache. Or taking the credit for falling through a clock. Then something in my head makes my tongue taste like meat and I remember guilt is a preservative. Dictated to reject decay.
I lie to my therapist about how I had a dream where my neck became a wasp. She laughs and tells me the vagina and the throat are the same spiritual muscle. I laugh and then I cough because her office is a bed of flowers whose effluvium tests me to hold my breath for ninety-five dollars worth of an hour. I ask my wasp if what my therapist said is true but she’s enchanted by the flower of a raspberry in a pool of cream.
There are seven units of time within a year. Sometimes fall comes after.
She’s still here, you know. The wasp. She is a good wasp. She is a smart wasp. She whispers with sounds that come from the chest. She gives the best advice that drips poison like semen and I feel my throat has given birth to something I don’t yet know the result of.
I get this feeling. It’s not a before feeling. It happens after something. It tells me something has come to a conclusion. I believe the feeling. But I wonder what has ended. And if wasps track units of time.
I still think about the number seven. Even now, I count seven, and I want to say the word “seven” seven times. seven seven. Words have a tendency to lose meaning, but it is in its nature for seven to gain.
I’ve realized my body is a hive.
I still don’t have my left arm. You think you see it but it’s made of wasps. The wasp constructed this as a method to satisfy the need.
The fear of a swarm is not the fear of many of one but of how the many ones interact with another. The fear of a swarm is of communication and conspiracy. Not many singularities.
I worry that I lost too much when my left arm fell off and now all that’s left of me is wasps. It’s very easy to think that, in one instant, I lost too much to recover because what’s left cannot accumulate to compensate. But wasps are known for their accumulation. And swarms are the result of a solution. So the hive inside me is a manifestation. I am their dedication.
What I’m trying to say is I hate wasps. And even so, it was still my neck that became a wasp and her drones that nested inside of me. My body is a host to many things.
Well, if not many, seven.
Socorro de Luca is an event coordinator and writer in Olympia, WA. She's a graduate with a degree in creative writing and uses writing to explore her studies in queer narrative. Her current project involves the exploration of identity, and what it means to witness. This is her first published piece.