I loved the familiar like it never loved me.
Mornings I overpoured my body into clothes, sweat greasing a triangle
between shoulders. The woman I lived with was scentless. Every corner
of everything stitched: carpet fibers situating sanitized dust in
perpendicular laps, L-shaped piles of neat unstink. With warning I'd
sweep down the steps fumbling over male and pungent as she backed into
a particularly odorless spot and held her nose.
I worked behind the meat counter at the grocery store. Soft curlicues
of ground chuck swung together, depressed a breath and squeezed; steaks
lounged in casual sheets, lipping one another's firm bodies. The light
was watery and stinging and spit pools into the meat.
The girl came for chicken at the other end. Her hips limped inside
jeans with slits smiling tightly across her thighs. She reeked of loose
hair and smudged angles and only rested two fingertips on the glass
when I was watching. She touched the glass too lightly and too long.
At lunch I followed the old women bleached of age trailing hot plate
samples. There was lukewarm noodling in soup, grey pork on toothpicks.
They all chewed the same. The employee's break room had leftover cake
from birthdays of stockboys. Part of a face was always left, curdling
in the heat under melting coils of intestinal frosting. In taste it was
pure; I saw it cloying and boiling the heavy groan of my body down
lean. I scooped into my mouth.
The girl, she used to buy roasts. A thick, solid shoulder cut out hot.
The smell would linger in my mouth after I left her home.
At dinner the woman lay a dish of cold oil and potatoes in front of me.
When she scurried away she let out her breath. I ate. I ate the oil,
the potatoes, and when it was all gone, when I'd licked the bowl and
this was not enough, I licked my fingers, my palms, my
arms—my tongue bloating slivering cracks where the wells were
always stained sweet.
Nina Feng is a candidate in the MFA program at the University of Iowa. She has work forthcoming
in the Alaska Quarterly Review and upstreet.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201005wells.htm
Detail of ink drawing on main page courtesy
of Alice Amelia.
w i g · l e a F