BUTTERFLY KISSES

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Two weeks ago you dyed your hair black, a hardly noticeable transition from the former faded chestnut brown. It illuminated how pallid your skin had grown, and I wondered how deep your veins burrowed or where your capillaries went after they shriveled up and hollowed out. How did you even bleed that day we went ice skating? I remember how your legs slumped in those black leggings adorned with glow-in-the-dark skulls— little invalidated emblems of death clumsily swinging at your own anomalous pace. It was 35 degrees outside and your bare pores were unable to form goosebumps. Hood overhead, you threw a spurious smile and started driving. After a couple diet soda cans thrown to the backseat, a few drags exhaled through the window, you started blowing bubbles again. They spewed out of your mouth in arches of iridescent film spreading soft appreciative giggles. When their job was done, theyd float slowly to the ground and pop. Your friends, parents, therapists, your self-proclaimed lovers readily accepted these bubbles. Theyd open their mouths and swallow them whole, absorbing the light, momentary taste on their palates, swirling it with their tongues like champagne. Theyd throw their arms in the air, allowing the bubbles to dance around them and exude webs of ecstatic laughter. My dear, you started to swell. Like mosquitoes, they swarmed and stung, making little parts of you their own. Like leeches, they devoured your pleasing colors and transient bliss until you were nothing but air, sucked in and blown out, in a completely diaphanous casing. That wasnt enough. They tore out and divvied up your vital organs, and catheterized what blood was left. Your skin was massaged to appear fakely fresh, and you were dressed in your brightest attire. They made sure to carefully fold your arms over your chest and part your lips just enough for the bubbles to still effuse. Propped up on two feet, your husk of a body cracked and dismembered; everyone ran to your side, gasping in unwarranted surprise. But me, I watched and wished you could reach out to people the way your eyelashes did: like thin black arms extending and fluttering with every blink, grabbing people and leading them back to what little purity still remains in your eyes. Maybe then they could see why you hide your fragile wrists with those striped sleeves or how the outside corners of your eyes droop behind large, sunny lenses and that familiar drunken smile. The coated coal strands gracing the perimeter of your eyes grazed my arms the day they dropped you into that cushy box and casketed you away.





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