“What I’m Made of”

Paper cuts so thin and numerous they’ve changed my fingerprints. Jell-O thick enough that if you were to shoot arrows at my chest you wouldn’t get a satisfying hit. Orgasms that have elected not to happen. Fingers that have found their way inside me anyway. Hairs that I’ve pulled out in rage and in lust. Other people’s hair, I mean. Eyebrows and sideburns. Estrogen that’s slowly leeching into me via a ring in my vagina. More eggs than I care for. More blood. More air. Assorted tubes. Various wires and sleeping pills and hospital gowns that make me wonder if I’m still human or if I have to pay the doctor’s bill before I’m granted that privilege. Very little privilege. Whatever is the opposite of money—sludge, probably. Spoons made from clay instead of silver. Broken locks instead of keys. A useless piece of filigree on the jewelry box that didn’t survive my move cross country. Everything I left behind, but in silhouette this time, like puppets. Like you. Your kitchen knives and your tweezers. Your name carved into my tongue so often that I say it when I breathe. Pleas. But not one ounce of forgiveness.

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About Ruth Joffre

Ruth Joffre is the author of the story collection Night Beast. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review, The Masters Review, Lightspeed, Hayden's Ferry Review, Mid-American Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She is currently at work on a novel.