The GiantsLeave a comment
April 2, 2023 by The Citron Review
by Rosalind Aparicio-Ramírez
Should the world’s imminent end be brought on by human consequence, and not divine judgment, I imagine it will be a drawn-out affair. In time, I would be eaten by the others. My survival up to that point might imply hardiness or resourcefulness; I imagine it would instead be the result of misplaced luck meant for someone stronger or more alert. To best avoid a cannibalistic death, I would need to acquire some skill beneficial to the remnants of society, something like foraging or hunting. I could provide by offering my kills rather than my flesh. But as I stand, I cannot even throw a stone.
On days when I’ve had little to do and feel guilty because of it, I rekindle my sense of purpose by cooking an elaborate meal for my family. My mother’s negative feelings towards domestic tasks often preclude my finding comfort in them. She hovers around our cramped Brooklyn kitchen going on about how sad and lonely I must be, cooking while the rest sit around, needlessly inflicting myself with such antiquated, demeaning duties. ¿Estás segura que no quieres que te ayude? But I enjoy being alone (a fact I must firmly state no less than three times to my mother as part of our ritual of hollow offers,) aside from the company of self-taught cooks posting at-home tutorials of skills I hope to one day exercise. I follow along as I saw my dull knife back and forth through the flesh of a store-bought fish, daydreaming of making the drive upstate to Little Salmon River. There, I could fish like I wouldn’t when I was young on my family’s trips from Sanford to Jordan Lake, off U.S. 1. I would sulk on the damp rocks of the lake, lungs thick with back-water stench and legs bubbling with mosquito bites as my parents caught catfish with chunks of cat food mashed with Coca-Cola as bait. My body’s rejection of the environment must have meant I belonged in a city, I thought, where there would be no reason to fish or hunt. There would be plenty of everything, forever.
My hands grow still as my eyes wander to focus instead on the background of some outdoor cook’s video, and I long for a chance to escape to those quiet lake trips now. In deep thought, I shuffle through my schedule, then down the list of endless tasks it would take to organize a trip. But this ideal trip, the one where I have ample time to practice and perfect these skills, is only possible in theory, I realize, or on the bend of the road leading to the end of the world.
As I resume slicing across the ribs of the fish, which has no meat and is better suited for broth, I imagine what would happen when the Giants get me, when the Giants disguised as clouds reach out and pluck me from the husk of a dying Earth and drag me through the stratosphere to set me down on a towering slate table to pull me apart. When they get me, I hope there is meat on me, enough meat so they consider their hunt worthwhile. My fingers shift with frustrated disappointment as I pick through the fish and dislodge its pins.
Should I be disappointing, I hope the Giants can at least render my fat to fry other meat in, or to make candles and light their homes, so I could be of some use to them. I hope my ribs slip out easily, easier than those of this fish, so I can be prepared quickly, soaked into their stomachs or onto a length of wick, bound between conical layers of molten beeswax.
I once told my sister about these looming, carnivorous Giants who appear in my daydreams as I cook, and she reassured me that really they meant I empathize with the fish. One day I hope to be more useful, capable of expressing gratitude towards the animals I’ll have learned to hunt, to give thanks before I carve into them, bless them in a language I don’t yet know, in the way the Giants would thank and bless me for being such an easy catch, so easy to be plucked and rendered down and used all up for my slivers of meat and globs of fat and bones for needles. Or maybe I am too small for use. I still haven’t pinned down the scale between me and them.
Rosalind Aparicio-Ramírez (she/her) is a reconnecting Oaxacan Indigenous writer and multimedia artist. She is based in occupied Canarsee and Lenape territory. Her work focuses on belonging, race, immigrant culture in the South, Indigenous Futurisms, and religion. She is currently pursuing an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Hunter College. She gets her best ideas in transit.