Think of an egg: how it cracks. It’s hard: hard meaning brittle, brittle meaning breakable, breakable meaning not-hard. It’s not-hard and its insides are the not-hardest of all. Break the brittle shell and you’re left with a mess. A slick sludge on your palms, gobs on your fingers. It runs and drips and slides and stinks the way not-hard things do.

Picture a girl: she’s an egg, all hard in her not-hardness, all soft inside. She fears cracks: cracks meaning fractures, fractures meaning shattering, shattering meaning splattering the floor with her big oily heart and her yellow-orange blood. See how weak she is, how she spills out of herself and onto you.

But when she covers you, when you feel her not-hardness and are repulsed, don’t mop her off your palms. Not yet. Let her seep into you; wear her like lotion. And when you finally wash your hands of her, you’ll have gained what she lost.

Don’t tell your friends about her. When they see your softness, her essence hiding in your every crack and crease, they’ll wonder but they won’t ask. So don’t tell them; let them find her themselves. She will compose herself quickly, become not-hard as new. She will pour herself out again.

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About Alaina Symanovich

Alaina Symanovich is completing her MA in English at Penn State University.  Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Word Riot, Switchback, Gravel, Fogged Clarity, Glassworks, and other journals.