Brevity Home |   | Guidelines | Past Issues

web counter

Virus 1

By Brian Oliu

C:\>run oliu.exe

I’m not perfect.  I was created under the guise that I was perfect at some point.  That there was a fusion of sperm and egg in my mother’s body, and that moment was perfection.  I grew inside of my mother’s womb, presumably with my back curved and my limbs bent up, pulled close to my developing torso, and this too, was perfect.  This was before the fetal position was seen as weakness.  My perfect body in that perfect pose was aposematic.  If you touch me, you will be poisoned.  If you eat me, you will be poisoned.  Somewhere in the late summer of 1982, perfection was breached, and I started to hit the bottom of my mother’s ribs with the top of my head, like an unfortunate swimmer who opts to surface underneath the dock.  In November of 1982, I twirled like a whirlpool, my plasma saturated infantile body serving as a spaghetti fork.  I was to be extracted, to be slid through the transverse cut in my mother’s abdomen with a soft reboot.  Instead I was delivered naturally and forcefully by my right arm, only to have the umbilical cord slip underneath my chin.  This was the first time I tried to hang myself.  I spent the first year of my life in a velcroed tan sling that held my chubby forearm at a pseudo-right-angle.  Babies are perfection.  Fat noses and miniature mouths.  It isn’t until they begin to stretch that they grow hideous.  Hair grows steady in some places, unfertilized in others.  Fingers swell before arms, leaving gigantic fists at the end of fatty tubes.  Stomachs and heads grow large like viruses, legs stay stubby.  I had a large head when I was a child.  When I would run, my forehead would lead me, one arm swinging like a one footed duck treading water.  I would jump into piles of leaves in my backyard, or into the legs of faux wooden tabletops.  I would be hoisted out of the leaves or up from the sticked fake tile floor by my father.  One day my father was playing with me and he lifted me too high and with too much force and my head hit the top of a sliding door jamb.  He told myself and my mother this many years after the fact.  I can’t bring it up, or else he will feel out of control again: me in the air, then not.  One day my mother was trimming my fingernails that had grown too long, and she clipped too low and with too much force and the top of my ring finger was sliced off and I started bleeding.  I was a baby in a soft cast. I was born as the result of a failed Caesarian section in which I lost a great deal of oxygen.

Brian Oliu is receiving his MFA at the University of Alabama and is a resident of Hunterdon County, New Jersey.  His work appears or is forthcoming in Swink, New Ohio Review, The Southeast Review, DIAGRAM, and The Best Creative Nonfiction Vol. 2.  This is an automated message.

photo by Dinty W. Moore