If the cosmos ever decide to bestow upon me the gift of beautiful photography, this it what I’ll do –
Take one boy, preferably one with a long face and torso, Fitzpatrick skin type IV. Plop him in a poorly-lit changing room, stalls to the left, hooks to the right, no mirrors, no windows. Take off his shirt. Sit him on a bench, one foot up, other on floor, head down. Put his hands on his shoe and his eyes on the tying of the laces, reef knot, the kind used by sailors and surgeons. The air should be full of linoleum, and the mouth of fricative consonants.
Take five steps away and create a miniature of him in the lens, inverted in my eye, shutter.
The anecdote of the boiling frog: if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in tepid water that increases gradually in temperature, it will eventually be cooked to death. 19th century scientists used controlled experiments to validate the claim, but their contemporary counterparts refute it, despite not having conducted experiments of their own.
In my own stupid way I think: how can you know it’s not true? In my own stupid way I think: I want to find out, but I will not. It would be cruel, it would be quite cruel to do so.
A critical thermal maximum, a death, a frog, a human. Throat muscles forcing oxygen and sweetmeats back up, lag, gab, breakdown locomotion. Boys coated in vague light, top hat and they’ll be Victorian, knives and they’ll be butchers. Girls grabbed and plucked, dropped, boil me up, boil me down. Stick your nails underneath my crustacean crust, saltwater shell, and pull, pop me open, ‘course it’ll work because –
the very limits of heat that I can take are locked in you.