Jessica Alexander


I once lived with a woman who aspired to be an eyeball.

Her limbs, she said, were in the way. I worked at a hotel. The hours were long and most evenings I was gone. That was when the urge, she said, was strongest. I returned to find her hacking at her wrists in the kitchen. She used a paring knife.

Once we had a picnic and everything I packed was soft or had a rounded edge. She was smiling and scratching her neck.

She said even if the limbs could be done away with, an eyelash, a strand of hair blown across her forehead could be offensive.

I’d find a thumb in the garden.

I took her to the opera. She raked her nails across her jaw. The lights went off, and when they came back on her skin was raised and red as cornrows.

I found an arm like a blooming onion in our compost.

We enjoyed Sunday brunch, a New York Times spread open to the travel section.

Once, I thought, I might’ve told her enough.

She’d drop her hand to my thigh and say, “Soon there will be no once. Only a pageant of happenings with no blinking intermissions.”

Our garbage disposal gurgled. It spat flecks of skin the color of cherry pits. It choked on our bones.

I found a skin sack floating in the bath.

“This is personal,” I said. “Not mine. I know.”

She assured me, what I owned, I owned solely. How, for instance, a thing could happen to me. She wanted a bedtime story.

“Once,” I said, “two men on a bike ran over my foot. I dropped something heavy. I can’t remember what. One of the men looked back, and shouted, ‘We’re sorry.’”

She scratched her bound ear with a bandaged wrist. “We cannot be sorry,” she said.

And I agreed.

“What?” She said.

And I said I agreed.

Jessica Alexanderis a candidate for the PhD in creative writing at the University of Utah. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Collagist, Fence, Denver Quarterly, PANK, and DIAGRAM, among other places. She is currently an editorial assistant at Western Humanities Review.
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