I wish that I had known in that first minute we met, just how starving and wasted you could be. You’d been abused, hypnotized and refused by the flesh in your skull filled with parasites.
I could count all your ribs, break your femur in half, your hip bone reminded me of a butterfly. You told me the way your bones protruded, was really no different from my own teeth, emerging from gum: tender living tiny meat. Your jaw bone seemed sharp as a knife, and if I had to pull your eyes out, it seemed I’d have to reach into the sockets up to my elbows. Your tongue was so dry, but still soft by my ear as you told me I was the imposter. I felt so young as I stared at the mirror and kept listening to all of your whisperings on repeat. There was something amazing in your creativity, and I didn’t think twice about truth or lies. You told me I was alone, you hated my tone, and my sweat was nothing anyone wanted. You said that I was a liar, unwanted and unreal, and then you took me gently by the hand. You led my up to my bed, and sat me down, my feet didn’t quite touch the ground. Your yellowed fingernails brushed my tears, there were so many your fingers tips became wrinkled. You kissed me right on the cheek, your lips of sandpaper softly scrapped along the edge of an eyelash. I wish that I had jumped out of bed, I wish I never slept. Because you hung up my clothes, drew the curtains, killed the phone, and I was left with only recordings of paradise. I’d open one eye when I slept, kept it closed when I awoke; at night for paranoia, in day for seeing only half of things.
You’d come in every night, say there’s something new to try, smiling like you had learned everything. Sometimes it was pictures of me, sometimes pictures of you, sometimes I couldn’t even tell the difference. Sometimes you’d tell me to fly, when I couldn’t even jump, or you’d make me itch and scratch and waste change on wishing wells. You’d prop me up in the bed, hold my hands, and give promises of joy, but it sounded an awful lot like screaming. You’d reach down my throat, punching through my voice, my lungs, and take a fistful of heartstrings. Yanking them up with care, you settled them upon my skin for all to see. But no one ever saw, no one even came by- they’d see your frame and exclaim they were leaving.
Days passed and so did my beatings. Inbetween you said what I was, somehow both above and below, and I was prettier when I smiled. So I smiled, even though we both called me out on the lie.
It came to be that every morning you slipped out the door, in my shoes, and walked to wherever I should be. I’d lie there like a molding pile of clothes, waiting for friends you promised would come, if only I stayed still and silent. If I was as was told. It never struck me how a voice could become so unwound, a music box missing the key. No one ever came to my pathetic, sincere, silent call. I could look through your eyes, your descriptions, but I couldn’t quite fit into you. My gaze couldn’t be yours all the way; as you took on my life.
So I began pulling things out of me. My memories of snow. The uncovered depth of beginning thoughts. The direction the world spun. The difference between funhouse mirrors, and the other kinds. Heliocentricity. How to see while being seen. Every day became race to see how much could be killed. How much could be starved right out me. And as I worked hard for every thought lost, every light scattered, you face began to change. It would twist up into urgency, and a loving disgust of me.
One day you didn’t come back. So I crawled out of bed to see what could be done. Into the bathroom without sunlight to study a reflection I had not dared to see for fear of what I’d find. I saw you there. Finger bones biting into palm bones. A bundle of willow and machineel sticks. Your mouth twists as mine does; you shudder in time with me. It takes me a while to realize you’re not around though. What I’m looking at in this mirror is the labor of us both, the willing destruction we wreaked on me. I’m ugly. Nonetheless. I strap on your gait and head out, to face it all alone. As what I’ve become.