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Carry the One

We all carry things over with us when we die. Our mother’s hands. Our father’s waffle-knit sweater. Lonely nights in garage apartments. Loves lost and loves discarded. The thing I brought with me into the dark was Elmer’s glue.

It filled my nostrils and mouth, clouded my eyes, enveloped me in the pale, sticky smell, and somewhere in my body was a bullet, unraveling my insides with alarming, bloody speed, but that was not what was killing me. I was drowning in glue.

And it did not hurt. It was nice, like floating on a raft, and really this was not such a bad place to die, here between the tiny desks, under the sign with animals for every letter of the alphabet. Newt for ‘n.’ Beagle for ‘b.’ The door to the hall was open. A single beam of icy sunlight fell into my open palm, heavy like a tangible thing, and I tried to close my fingers around it, but my hand would not move. My mouth tasted like blood. I wondered if, inside me, all the glue was repairing my construction paper heart. My cotton ball kidneys. My wrapping paper lungs. Death is really nothing more than a gentle pulling apart at the seams.

Behind me, the closet door stayed closed. In the dark, ten hummingbird hearts fluttered, filling the ocean-wide void with their music.



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