Excerpt: ‘A Boundary Has No Boundary (A Taxonomy)’, by Emma Rayward

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Photo by David Goth. Image reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

When casein is denatured, it becomes da-Sein

The thin film on milk when you warm it up, when the hot liquid congeals against the cold air and it goes solid, to protect itself, and you pinch it up and put it on the side of the cup’s lip away from your mouth, so you can drink the milk, not chew it. It might call itself protein, and protein is good for you, but you still don’t want it in your mouth.

Once I met someone who lived off the membrane that formed on soups, and they were happy, but they were wasteful, because they didn’t eat the rest of the soup. They would pour it onto the same patch of grass every day and, at one point, the grass died. Perhaps they were Nepalese and said to me, yeah, durr (turr), I enjoy it. Or were perhaps Japanese and said So? And I said, no, thanks. They said, yeah alright mate, suit yourself, and I said, look I’m really sorry, but I think you’re a ghost and might have been dead for 1,000–1,300 years, and I’m not sure I can trust a ghost for food advice because, well, I guess you don’t eat, and they said, haven’t you seen Casper? We do, it just falls through us. That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy it. Casper, like the thin film on milk, the membrane on soup, there but not there, the cool surface holding the warmth together.

When a product name becomes the generic term for all other products of the same type

The tight fabric wrapped around you again, just like you on yourself, but it’s thicker, and rubbing it gives you goosebumps, but it helps you to swim faster, or run faster, or cycle faster, depending on what kind of movement you do best, because it lets the wind slip around you, not through your hair, like it used to, and it pulls your muscles and your blood vessels together so their chatter is quiet and they no longer need to yell. You feel slimmer. You say, check out my sexy ass, look at my taut muscles, wow my genitals are defined. We say, aw shit I don’t care, just win.

Other products that have become the generic term for all other products of the same type: Kleenex, Band-Aid, Hoover, Aspirin, Cellophane, Escalator, Linoleum, Biro, ChapStick, Coke, Esky, Google, Jacuzzi, Jet-Ski, Mace, Onesies, Post-It, Rollerblade, Styrofoam, Taser, Tupperware, Jeep, Xerox, Frisbee, Velcro, Teflon, Super Glue, Super Hero, Stanley Knife, Sharpie, Ping Pong, Perspex, Muzak, Memory Stick, Hacky Sack, Bubbler, Bubble Wrap, Videotape, Laundromat, Thermos, Brassiere, Zipper, Heroin, Dumpster, Lava Lamp, Hula Hoop, Adrenaline, Speedo, LP, Doona, Glad Wrap, Texta.

When something is successful, we like to do it again until no one can stand it anymore

Six main characters cycling every two seasons. Most say the first was the best; I say, I came in on the second and then watched the first but I guess it was the original but I dunno, and we both say, there was a third cycle? and everyone else says yeah and I don’t trust that show, it’s like everything bad or dramatic or outrageous that happens to teenagers happens to this small group of teenagers all at the same time and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that, like sometimes, in real life, most of the time, nothing actually happens, and you just sit around, waiting for something.

I know people who have had eating disorders, and who have tried to kill themselves, and who have spent time in psychiatric facilities, and I know people who have taken drugs, and gone camping and taken drugs, or gone to a party and taken drugs, and I have done that too. And I know people who have been raped, and cheated on their partner, and lied, and were refugees, and have been hit by moving vehicles, or have lost a parent or someone close to them, and I have too, but it never happened all at once. I can remember it all at once, or I can conflate the stories I’ve heard into one memory, or I can forget what day it happened, or I could even pretend it didn’t happen to me, even though it did.


This piece appears in full in The Lifted Brow #31. Get your copy here.

Emma is still working on her theory of Abject Topology, iterations of which you can see in Overland, Tincture Journal and Scum Mag.