“I like your hair.” You say to me.
I shave my head that night when I go home and sweep the scraps into a plastic sandwich bag. I press it into your palm the next time you see me. (You love me)
“I like your smile.” You tell me.
I start with the baby tooth that didn’t have an adult tooth underneath it to grow up and push it away. I slide it across the table to you. By the time I get to my wisdom teeth, you’ve arranged my smile on the table. The barista calls your name for your coffee. “I’ll get it,” I say. The only sounds that make it out past my lips are the vowels. (You love me not)
“I like your taste.”
There’s already a knife in my pocket. I stick my tongue out and hold it, like a limp fish, between my thumb and index finger and slice it off right there. You frown and tell me I don’t have to be rude about it.
I cauterize the end that’s still in my mouth with my lighter before the blood starts dribbling down my chin. You were with me when I bought the lighter. You bought me the knife.
You let me go home. (You love me)
“I like your eyes.”
This one is easy. I go home and hit the back of my head against the wall until the two little peeled grapes pop clean out of their sockets. I put them in a mint tin. They’re kinda smushed, but the irises are intact at least, you point out. (You love me not)
“I like your guts.”
There’s a twinkle in your eye when you say this. Now you have the knife. All I have to do is let you slice me open, latitudinally. But it doesn’t count if I let you do it. I take the knife and tell you, it’s ok, it’s alright. Let me. I pull out yard after yard of sausage link intestines. And every inch writhes in my hands, like a worm unearthed by heavy rain. It knows it’s not supposed to be out here. I coil my intestines neatly. (You love me)
“Do you like my heart?” I ask you when it’s too dark for you to see me. That way, we’re almost even. I hear my smile you took from me-
No, that’s not right.
I gave it to you.
I gave it all to you.
I hear my smile I gave to you in the dark when you say
“Without the rest of you? It’s worthless.”
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