Mercury-Marvin Sunderland (he/him) is a transgender autistic gay man from Seattle with Borderline Personality Disorder. He currently attends the Evergreen State College and works for Headline Poetry & Press. He’s been published by University of Amsterdam’s Writer’s Block, UC Riverside’s Santa Ana River Review, UC Santa Barbara’s Spectrum Literary Journal, and The New School’s The Inquisitive Eater. His lifelong dream is to become the most banned author in human history. He’s @Romangodmercury on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
They’re woody and tear-shaped.
They’re flat on one side, and rounder on the other.
I put one in my mouth.
I wonder what it would take to sprout. If you put a bean in your mouth it will grow. It’ll sprout out of your spit and body heat. If you don’t believe me just try it yourself. I wonder if the same could be done for apple seeds. My gaping mouth houses a massive apple tree.
I imagine roots which take place in my mouth. Lining my teeth and strangling my tongue. A massive weight that kills me from my skull. From that grows a forest of apple trees feasting on a human body.
If I chew them they will taste like almonds. The cyanide is not strong enough to kill me. It will only be eaten up by my stomach juices. Currently I have a headache.
I have eaten many appleseeds. When I eat apples I eat the whole thing. Sticker, fruit, seeds, and stem. The stem is really the only part that isn’t particularly tasty. It’s just wood. But the thought can make you dizzy.
Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz had to escape those evil trees who threw apples at her. They extended those wooden arms and tried to hurt a goddamn child. I don’t know why she wanted to escape a magical fantasy land to live back in her crummy black-and-white world. When it was parodied in Futurama she decided to be a witch only to be melted away.
Dorothy fell into the pigpen at the very beginning. Pigs love to eat human flesh. Pigs will feast on your body like apples.
I spit out the appleseeds. They mix on the floor in a pile of cat hair. I try to clean them but they still have the cat hair. I spit them out. I throw them out. I wash out my mouth with water. Water that won’t melt me because I’m not a witch.
It used to be that whenever someone misheard my name, they always misheard it as a women’s name. And yeah, cis people can apologize all they want, but I’d just rather that they wouldn’t do it. That hasn’t happened in a long time because I have a beard now. I’ve been called Martha and Mary and Dorothy and all sorts of other crap which isn’t my name.
Every time I use the phone I get “ma’am”ed even though I’ve been taking testosterone for almost three years now. They don’t listen when I correct them. If I tell them I’m a man with a high-pitched voice (it really isn’t), they just ignore me and keep calling me ma’am anyway.
When I was eighteen I called the suicide hotline because I was ramming an entire bottle of painkillers down my throat. They took forever to answer and called me “ma’am” at least twice in each sentence.
I didn’t have the energy to tell them to stop. I hung up. I knew that yet again the public resources were not made with me in mind.
Three appleseeds. Eaten away and forgotten. Thrown away and forgotten. At the center of every apple I will find these apple seeds.
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32 pages, published 1/15/2022
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80 pages, published 10/15/2020
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