I Keep Writing Things in Second Person and it Scares Me Because I Don’t Know Who You Are (Priya Ele)

But I know you’re watching me now. Today I think your chin is covered in blood and your teeth lay mangled behind your lips. You were driving and drinking champagne from a paper cup and I was in the passenger seat. I took it from your hands to feel it fold, the edges of it frayed and fell into the liquid and made it all taste chalky and bitter. You swerved with a hand draped over the wheel and we tumbled into oblivion and only you came away bloody. Yesterday you were the boy I’m in love with. You laughed at me because all we did was lie to each other, hurt each other. I used the side of my tongue to bruise you. The day before you were an angel, but one of those biblical ones, all sharp edges and serenity and if I got too close to you I felt everything around me eclipse, magnets pulling together and apart. My spine ripped out through my mouth, against the soft flesh of the place my teeth bite.

I try to let go of you sometimes but you still exist, a corpse in words that only I can see the rot in. I’m still behind a steering wheel, the inside of my mouth burning with sharp and paper. You’re standing in front of me, someone beautiful draped in dark, a man torn into ruin by how frail memory is. You press a knife to my throat, fingers down my throat, yanked against my lips, dragged in lipstick. I have a face for you now but it will be a different one tomorrow. Maybe hair will grow on the soft of your flesh and I’ll be able to smear my hands against them like they’re daggers and pinpricks. I feel your breath on the side of my neck when I’m writing this, when I go to sleep, a dorm bedroom suffocating me. A hotel room. A hospital. Memories of places I don’t live anymore and have never lived. You turn into pictures of the things I love and the things I’m grieving for. A funeral in human form. A car crash and a drunk driver and a boy who broke up with me two weeks ago. I love you – I whisper to you, to everyone I write about, hard enough to draw blood.


Priya Ele is a New York based writer. She studies dramatic writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She’s had multiple works of short fiction and poetry published. You can find her on twitter @priyaeler


image: MM Kaufman