keeping it together
The first time it happens, you’ll be on your way to work. A man’s walking toward you, all hungry grin, and just as you’re passing each other, he snaps his teeth click. A drop of saliva lands on your cheek. You’ll roll your eyes and pull your bag tighter but as you’re boarding the subway you notice: you’re missing a finger. Well, I have nine others, you’ll think. The next time it’s your sister, passing the table you’ve reserved for your dinner because you two have grown different faces, as adults. It’s hard to recognize each other these days. That one will take a toll on your stomach: wake up the next morning to half your torso missing. Not much blood, just a gap where it used to be. The next is soon after, when your office lets you go and your boyfriend doesn’t want this whole thing, after all. An eye will roll out at your first job interview, and your Tinder date has to hand you your tongue. It’ll go back in, you say for the both of you, shoving it deep in your cheek. But your throat’s tasting more and more of copper. When your friend’s diagnosed or your ceiling starts to crumble, you don’t think you can lose any more — but, as if right on schedule, an ear drops off and then both your legs. Later that night, as you’re surveying what’s left of your body, you’ll wonder how people live with so much missing. Breathing’s not as easy as it used to be.