What a life it is, to have every action defined by fear’s serrated edge. Flesh pressed up to it, tufting like an overstuffed armchair. In a pilot project for my existence, they found all versions of me eventually became so acidic they melted themselves from the inside out. There is, they told me, no way to fix this problem without replacing each internal organ with ocean-waste plastic. I watched, in the half-dark, two men walk in accidental lockstep across campus. A nervous sort of itch that starts in my teeth. They taught me to rewrite memories at the end of the 90s, before everything was televised. So sometimes I forget that other people have tongues. Are they warm? Are they, you know, soft? Sorry, sorry. I took a pill for my nerves but it didn’t work. They say to me you don’t have to be so miserable all the time but the only thing they give me to eat is rotten fruit. I want movie theatre popcorn and rotisserie chicken. O–– forgive me, my lieges, I have overreached. But have you ever taken a muscle in your hands and tried to rip it in two? Have you slid a bone from its flesh and let it drop and shatter?
Lauren Christiansen is an emerging writer from New England. She holds an MPhil from the University of Cambridge in American literature and is a staff reader for Five South. In her spare time, she sends her piano teacher detailed emails about her dislike for the suggested finger positionings in sheet music.