I am a bone fragment. I am a bent red straw with lip gloss on it. I am a throat lozenge, half-sucked. I am a clear white glass bottle with a yellowing prescription sticker. I am a speckled fragment of skull. I am the cremated remains of a person, pressed into a bow. I am a black & orange necktie with yellow drips of paint. I am a 1 1/2” paintbrush, filthy with old dried paint. I am a shard of a plate, thickly coated with green oil paint. I am a brittle, brown dried flower, resting on a bed of cotton. I am a strip of white synthetic cloth, mirroring the lights. I am a broken chunk of black marble with green verdigris stains. I am a gram of ground paper in a small glass bottle with a black top. I am a single valium on a bed of cotton. I am a dead hummingbird with feathers white, brown, green & black. I am a painting of a hummingbird covered by a medallion encircled with fake diamonds. I am a small dead black bird. I am a round segment of bone.

I am a glass bowl filled with clipped fingernails. I am a broken white tile. I am segment of grey telephone wire. I am a square of burnt brick. I am a square of white cloth. I am a square of old leather. I am a press pass for the execution of Timothy McVeigh. I am two prickly circles of opaque glass. I am an aged communion wafer on a bed of white cotton. I am a swatch of burlap, folded over itself. I am a bent & rusted nail.I am a small, oblong chunk of coal. I am a small plastic box of wheat kernels. I am a single dose vial of sodium chloride. I am a broken dental retainer. I am a charred square of corrugated cardboard. I am a dish of rent paper & broken plaster. I am an old black metal button reading “Porter.” I am triangular chunk of broken plate, with a shaky pattern painted in blue. I am a long yellow twig with six growths out of the stem. I am a dried, translucently brown orange leaf. I am a dish of dried grasses & wildflowers. I am a red rose dried to the color of old tapestry.

I am a mummified toe with the flesh hanging off in strings. I am a toe-shaped chocolate, wrapped in gold foil. I am a mummified chunk of flesh. I am a bit of brittle leather with four rusted rivets. I am a small lavender box of tea leaves. I am a cigarette crushed out in an otherwise clean glass ashtray. I am a green toothbrush cut in half. I am a small, perfectly round, black stone. I am a pair of dark red panties with lace lining, stuffed into a Petri dish. I am a small swatch of dark blue fabric bisected by a copper zipper. I am an soft translucent oval of silicon. I am a penny lying heads up. I am a shriveled & browned pear core. I am an unlit cigar, of the tan variety. I am a recipe for anti-worm mix. I am a pinch of dirt in a small glass bottle.

I am a half-eaten whole wheat roll crusted with oats. I am mummified corn cob. I am a Christmas cookie in a Petri dish. I am a broken fortune cookie with the fortune laid out type-side up. I am the blackened crumbs from a century-old wedding cake. I am a broken handle from a black ceramic coffee mug. I am two pieces of popcorn. I am a small white birthday candle with a singed wick. I am a fork bent in half. I am a 3 ½ inch floppy disk with red handwriting on the case. I am a wad of carpeting material. I am a rectangle of white & green cloth. I am a closed black tube of lipstick. I am a bottle of sore-throat spray. I am a small steel stud from a tuxedo. I am an empty packet of rolling paper. I am a single fingernail clipping on a bed of black cotton. I am an empty hypodermic needle. I am a shriveled & blackened bird claw. I am a cutting of silk fabric from an emergency parachute. I am a small white chip of paint. I am a bit of fragmented wood, painted blue. I am a lock of black hair in a small Petri dish.

I am a pinch of powdered mummified flesh in a small glass tube with a yellow plastic stopper. I am a dirty baby doll with nine rusty nails protruding from its chest. I am a mummified llama fetus. I am bent door key. I am a bottle of brown oil in a glass bottle with a black dropper top. I am a silk pouch decorated with images of diamonds, with a steel zipper. I am pink goo in a Petri dish. I am a Hell’s Angels sticker, stained with red paint. I am a red tube of lipstick. I am three jelly beans: black, white & red. I am a white napkin stained by chocolate. I am a plaster cast of the bottom set of teeth. I am a white card spattered with fake blood. I am a presidential seal impression in dark red wax. I am a rusty knife with a worn, wooden handle. I am a bit of dried & mangled foreskin. I am a dirty garden glove. I am a small stub of a yellow pencil. I am a vial of very old blood.


MATHIAS SVALINA is the author of five books, most recently The Wine-Dark Sea from Sidebrow Books. He is an editor for Octopus Books & runs a Dream Delivery Service (