I Believe I Have Become a Sidekick to My Own Condition

J.C. Rodriguez

“Everything’s working great!”

~Miles ‘Tails’ Prower

(Sonic Adventure, 1998)

“Sonic is gone, Amy. & Tails is…Tails has just lost it.”

~Silver the Hedgehog

(Sonic Forces, 2017)

This recovery cannot have artifacts, just a chip

planted in my forehead. It says five years & solicits Christian praise,

cleansing the pins from dust. I attempt to blow new life

into my last working memory: the choreography

of a cutscene — a fox rescued from denial by the ghost

of his beloved — a wrench in his coping mechanisms.

What is left to grieve when loss is taken away? We cannot

rob each bottle; they hold captive smaller lives

& the Catholic in me wants a fully stocked bar

five-feet & ten-inches from my bed. I need a floating body

between us. I need an obstacle to silence. I need

explosions to denote freedom, bursting through altars

of old credit cards & glassy hills. My hands are still

empty in prayer. For each pore can become a wound —

an upstream tunnel filling reservoirs. When the battery dies,

synapses leak & meet a sea of sleepless nosebleeds

to contaminate an ocean. I baptize all my possibilities

with a name. I’ve played a level for every path. I know

which one ends with a body. Addicts don’t have gold rings

to stay afloat. We get hooked up to our own dead

machines & drown in our own lungs. I ask the fox to fix us.

He tries to wash away the rust & unbury

the screws. He counts everything in the toolbox

like a mass eulogy. He wishes his beloved back

until the memory is accepted as substitute.


about the author