Mictian Carax


Mictian Carax is a violent drunk who writes when mania strikes. She mortgaged her future away by studying creative writing at Brooklyn College and graduated just as the Covid-19 pandemic began. She believes that the one good thing about enduring nearly four decades of poverty, with no future prospects, is that there comes a point in which you don't give a single solitary shit about anything. And that's fruitful ground for creativity. Her work has been published by Sublunary Review, and you can find her in most places as @ourldyofsorrows. 

What Starts Fish Panting


Close your eyes to the transitory nature of everything, and your next inhalation gets stuck in your throat. Las cosas caen--all the conversations, the sounds of kissing in toilets, contracting faces, seizing arms and dimpled thighs como el zumbido de la luz, bristling wants and needs, where is any of it now? Rushing, swiveling like a turret, spraying newborn fish in every direction. Los ajolotes me tragan, me mastican, me procesan directo a la o en tus labios--otra vez en mi elemento, los espacios pequeños, donde no hay arriba y no hay abajo. 


Consider impermanence: begin, change, end, again and again. Agua sube nube. Pay attention to the next inhalation. How long will it take? A night, untethered, deeper underwater. Come inside. 


Yes, I’m serious, shorten my lifespan. C’mon, don’t you want to be responsible for my early death, an offense beautiful like you and I? Return me solvent to a daunting social life where my shadow rings hundreds of shadows more. My hands tingle when I run to you, but the taste of your mouth, like the burnt corn nuts on the kitchen floor.  




Every summer, without fail, I visited my grandmother’s house in La Paz, Chihuahua, a little speck of land that doesn’t even figure in official maps. Petra worked for my grandmother, and she was the first person I saw naked. One day, under the penetrating glare of the summer sun, after my thirteenth birthday, I led her by the hand—across the apple orchard, and the river, and the path lined with weeping willows, tlacocotes, pinos tristes, honey and screwbean mesquites, Tarahumara oaks, the loud, yellow flowers of the Palo Verde—to the killing field where Pancho Villa shot the traitors of the revolution. In the middle of that field was an abandoned house where we could be alone. 


Anyway, its ok if you don’t want to go. Frankly, I don’t feel like going out at all. I wish I had a nest to offer you, and you could come visit. We could have gotten high and watched the Mothman movie together. Why is Indrid Cold your alter ego? 


We didn’t go inside the crumbling walls, of course, for we feared that they would collapse, and our dead bodies found naked. Not to mention the ghosts. We went to the pigpen instead. Petra’s hands were cold and her breath shallow. She fainted just as I searched for her tongue with mine. Well, I wondered what all the fuss was about. Still, it was something to do with the time. As she came to, her body trembled, the oxygen rushed out of her again turning her brown skin sallow. She dry heaved. She couldn’t breathe. She left. I ran after her. 


I like Mothman Prophecies because it's this dreadful little story about outsiders of various stripes. Indrid Cold occupies that position, I think, as something of an outsider's outsider: that guy doesn't really seem to have a home or lair either, he just sort of condenses into being to have a helpful chat, and then he evaporates; he seems to exist only in the encounter. I think that's a pretty good summary of where I am, no? I don't have much of a nest either, and so our visits, true though they are, have always been borrowed.

But in the desert, the light and heat never let you forget that you don’t belong there. They bend light rays to reproduce images of the blue sky, which suffuse the barren ground with ocean waves, yet it is never wet. In some instances, it is up to the human mind to interpret the mirage. You have no control. So, we laughed a mirthless laughter at a life that now looked like a mere vanity, a phantasmagoria that oscillates wildly between death and a viable existence. 


I remember during my first year in America (when I would have been in 2nd grade), I had some assignment that called for a short autobiography, and I had this uncertain moment where I debated whether or not I should capitalize the p in Poland. I decided not to (it was such a little place, after all), and the teacher of course corrected it for me. There was a momentary swelling of Pride (she thought we mattered after all), followed by a long trough of unpleasant disorientation--I knew in truth that we did not.


We got up to walk back, but the lovesick rattlesnakes mocked us as the yellow riots of the Palo Verde immolated the verdant path out. Contrary and indomitable, the hilly plain, bitter and scarred by bone-dry riverbeds and bordered by the Sierra Madre, undulated its already inhospitable and corrugated landscape—I fell to my knees and sat on my legs in silence. Petra, “a broken smile beneath her whispered wings,” green thunder pumping her earthly heart, laid down her head on my dimpled thighs.

© The Acentos Review 2020