Mirene Arsanios


The Humanitarians (excerpts)

“Do you see doom, Rosa?”


“Are you lying?”


“Show me your hand. Is there something below your skin, Rosa?”

“No.” I say, using a full stop.

“No wire?”

“I don’t think so,” I say.

“Do you need to stand up, stretch your legs, before we begin?”

“I don’t think so,” I reply.

“How long have you been lying like this?”

“A long time,”

“It’s 11:11,” the man says, standing still, his face lurking above mine.

“Will you cut me open?” I ask the man.

“Yes” he answers, unsure of his punctuation.

“Before we begin: are you inactive? In active decay, an active decay or an act of decay?”

“All of the above, I would say.”

“You’re certainly an attractive decay…” The man says. He is smiling.

If fucking was a fact, the man would fuck my missing brains out, but I have no organs left, only a compressed hollowness that keeps expanding.

“Syntactically, you’re strange,” The man adds, “Disjointed like a body.”

“Thank you,” I reply. I imagine blushing. I imagine blood.

“Where was your body recruited, Rosa?”

“Below sea level.”

“Then what happened?”

“They gave me a name. I scavenged on dead meat for weeks. I began to glow. I wasn’t able to distinguish signs from occurrences. I lived in a democracy.”

“Define ‘they’.”

“The opposition, the repetitions, those who say, ‘believe me’, or ‘coming full circle’, my mother.”

“Where you alive when they killed you?”


“And those you killed, were they alive too?”

“Some were already dead.”

“Yourself included?”

“I was alive when I died.”

“What were you wearing?”

“Ligaments, tissues, a large pelvis, some tarsals, and 24 ribs. I looked younger than my age.”

“And then?”

“One night, in a room like this one, my past began to change. My death felt different, more distant. When I looked back or turned around, my heartbeats began to slow down, my belly fat to freeze.”

“Can you say more? Use longer sentences?”