from Flesh Graphs
by Brynne Rebele-Henry
58. Spray tan, he keeps saying things about me like divine, and baby, and scrumptious. Of my bikini: hot, hot, hot. His porno beard. His affinity for unicorn butt plugs and bedazzling.
59. I fucked them in a car with no heat, it was winter and our skins made sweaty iced-over red-tinted sacks against each other. They called themselves Pedro and Bobby and bought me two blueberry Slurpies.
60. The knife makes clean against my fingers. The tip of my thumb, almond sliver off my breasts, the round of my foot. All of the flesh my body doesn’t need.
61. He puts the gauge inside my nose, a needle that’s too sharp, a blue stone. He says “Sweet spot found.” Then pushes in until it crunches concave into my septum.
62. All of us babies she didn’t want/couldn’t keep/a million reasons why. All of us babies, seven now, counting the new one popped out of dairy-like thighs. All of us wash our hair with two-dollar shampoo. All of us wear the same clothes, our bodies froglike. Doctor says: tapeworm, the white thread that hangs out of us.
63. He puts the condom on, still wearing the pig mask from last Halloween.
64. She wonders where putting on Sharpie instead of lipstick would rank on the scale of taboo. She decides a 3, somewhere around a bloody tampon string hanging out of your shorts but not as bad as eating your hair/skin in public.
65. Sarah and I go to the art party in dresses that make us look like beautiful aliens. Before we walk in the illuminated doorway, we drop the acid from London. Inside the gallery everyone is wearing weird headbands and eating cupcakes, we take some pastries and start crying because everything is so fucking pretty. A girl with Mickey Mouse ears looks at me and says: “You are cosmic.” I think that touching her would be like conceiving with the universe, her breasts are glowing UFOs against her sequined t-shirt, they give off a sort of green light.
66. His body is a husk of his former self, withered against the hospital sheets like a fossil nobody wanted to unearth.
67. I didn’t know what to do so I licked the side of his face.
68. I buy concealer two shades darker than my skin to hide the bruises.
69. The juice box bleeds over my hands when I see her back walking away.
70. When they take away the knives, flatware, scissors, I start using pens, and when those are gone, my nails.
71. The virginity I sort of have weighs metal against my twenty-nine-year-old thighs. I’ve tried bars, construction sites, funeral homes, clubs, restaurants, small businesses hookah bars, no takers, single mingle, prostitutes, candy, escorts, speed dating for your inner bisexual, craigslist, real estate agencies, gyms, carwashes, sex shops. I’ve tried bondage, nipple piercings, bodycon dresses, platforms, makeup artists, two thousand dollar hair salons. I’ve taped printouts of bad porn on my clothing. I’ve gotten a tattoo that says “fuck me.” I’ve tried two hundred shades of red on my lips.
72. I lick my elbow when I’m unhappy.
73. I can still feel his body wrapped around my arms every morning, I wonder what his ashes taste like: the strawberries when we kissed? His cheap cologne? The ten years of beer every afternoon until he passed out/blacked out/unknown? I dabble my thumb in his urn: blackberry pie.
74. The trackmarks down my thighs remind him of hot corpses.
75. I don’t date girls who talk to Elmo.
76. He only calls me bro when he’s stoned and eating the frozen brownies in my freezer. “Satiated, bro,” he says, picking lint out of my dreadlocks. “Bro, that’s whacked,” I say, eating frozen peas out of the Buddha hand on my wall.
77. Fucker John and Cookie Monster Rob and I are in the car when I take a safety pin to my ear cartilage.
78. I was an oracle in the brothel every night.
79. When the blood first comes I don’t cry, or feel like a woman or girl or inbetween person with a vagina, I call 911 and ask for an ambulance right fucking now please.
80. I rub her belly, all hard and full and babied up.
81. When I run out of coke I do heroin, when the heroin is gone I drink nail polish remover. I think of the lacquer of my intestines floating off and running red through me.
82. His knee socks make me uncomfortable.
83. They give me the coat of shame for having tits.
84. The abortionist plays violin and has three cats. Her eyes are the color of the condom wrapper we forgot: dark blue and transparent.
85. I take photos of the places that I want to change: the crook of an elbow bent too far, the lobe of my ear in the part where the flesh hangs too round, the spaces indented by girth and bone and rippled water skin.
86. I tried to remove my freckles with milk and bleach.
87. I wear dildo necklaces. I also wear poodle skirts, and draw puppies on my lips.
88. He named the mole on his breast Claudia.