Foreign Body

Elephas imperator, Right Foreleg, 1900-1935.

he effort was enormous but the rewards worth it. He knew it was never part of him. A foreign body, sapping him, draining his will to go on.

Over the years he had tried various ways to get rid of it. He didn’t want to call it a leg, because that would denote ownership.

It was always there, and he hated it. When he was six he tucked it up in his pyjama leg and wished for more than the tooth fairy.

The knife sliced the frozen flesh, and his relief grew with every cut. The tourniquet gripped the living, a line in the sand between indecision and release.

He knew when it would be too late to repair, and only then did he call for an ambulance.

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This post is one in a series of works inspired by the Smithsonian Institution’s photo archive, made publicly available on Flickr. If you would like to, choose an image from their collection and create something – be it prose, poetry, audio, or visual art – inspired by it, and send it to snakeoilcure [at] gmail [dot] com.

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As a writer Hettie Ashwin does her best. She writes for magazines, radio and fun. Hettie has a healthy ego, and a fertile imagination which combines with a robust work ethic to make her a well rounded individual. As the proud possessor of an enlarged funny bone, it has a marked influence on her writing style and her life in general. Hettie blogs here. Her other contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

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