God fucking damnit. Mia pulled the false lashes off for the second time. Glue made fine stringy lines before snapping and sticking to her eyelid, mixing with mascara. She was not off to a good start. Still, at least she wasn’t in a rush. There was exactly one hour before the shoot and an Uber to pick her drinking ass up. She had danced this tango before and knew it was a swirling dervish of long and immense suffering. Mia’s fingers picked at her eyelid and came away with what looked like gray boogers. She wiped them on her sweatpants and thought, Gross. This shit was ridiculous. But when she could blink and cause a hurricane, it would all be worth it.
When I was very young, I made her.
Or should I say, I met her?
She was woven from the threads
of my imagination,
stars pinned in wild, dark hair,
gold dust on her feet.
I want to run my tongue
along your crooked teeth,
bite your lips,
feel you breathe.
And if you want
a piece of me,
all you have to do
Perhaps I have had too much. Too much love, too much sex, too many showers. I’ve been blurring the lines, slipping in and out of arms, tumbling between sheets, and landing in a tangle of my own limbs with my angry, laughing heart pumping in the middle of it all. And I have no one to blame, no one to praise, but myself; electric me, natural and alive and disgraceful. In love with the idea of every experience, calling the name of temptation, wrapping my legs around her waist, tasting and pushing before life pulls me on, hands still reaching, yearning to touch and be touched by everything.
When your body wasted away and became nothing more than a carcass filled with cancer, we began the bureaucratic business of dealing with death. I never saw your body. I waited on the other side of an indifferent doorway while those stronger than me went to see what the disease had left behind. My sister walked back out and into my arms. She shook her head and set her jaw and looked like she would burn down the whole world if only she had enough gasoline to soak it in. Her eyes were filled, but her face was dry as our mother cried behind her. “That’s not your dad,” my mom choked out. I said nothing, and silently wished that I could get away with saying nothing for the rest of my life.
I’m morbidly fascinated with edges. The edges of blades, glinting and indifferent. The edges of rooftops, sudden and unforgiving. The edges that separate me from another, the invisible lines and definitions of our relationships, the tangible ridges of our clothes.
One, inspect all of your fingernails—ALL of them. Slide the dirt out from beneath white keratin and flick it away to disappear somewhere on the ugly carpet under your desk. Once done push down all your cuticles and try to ignore the uneven, snagging skin this creates. Fail. Begin pulling at hangnails and risk the skinny slivers of flesh running like nylon stockings, making small bleeding slits that burn for the next week every time you wash your hands. Give up on one that runs particularly deep, one that you know if you pinch and jerk again will probably run all the way to your knuckle and possibly kill you. Take a piece of scotch tape from the dispenser the company lent you and make a transparent bandage. Try not to peel it off.