i say this to every wall that rounds the corner of our house.
i give you my gut, reach into my throat and pull it out in front of you, place it on the china from your wedding (the one with the blue and yellow rose curlicues around the edges), all while the ridges on the tile leave depressions at the jut of my knee, and i can hear the bones creak from the pressure.
the hard leather of your shoes is so close to my lips i can kiss it.
the hairs on my cheek singe from the alcohol i smell on your mouth, and you carouse, laughing in a way that the hollow of my ears turn red because the very sound, the cadence of your intonation, irritates me to the base of my stomach, but i ignore it all, and still offer myself to you, whichever way will make you give me your attention.
you push the rest of the party away from my lamenting on the floors we never mop, call me a whore with the same mouth and in the same way you called me darling, and pour out instead, an entire bottle of whiskey, down the paths of my face, and you don’t even look at the delicate, ornate plate with its chipped corners holding my insides on it, until it is swimming in a pool of whiskey thick like molasses.
my tongue catches liquid like an offering to a false God somewhere, the ones you worship, and i pray at your feet.
you throw the bottle away, shatter it across the grayed floor, and return to a shelf where you strike up a conversation, presumably with the glass stocked across the wooden beams, and i rise off the ground, and encircle the glass, and walk around them like eggshells, letting them shred my feet because spilled blood looks a lot like good wine.
i can at least put you on a chase before you have the ability to hate me again. these are the days where i wish we could be different. there’s this one sunset i remember—golden hues, purpled clouds—where i sat upon your shoulders, and you were helping me touch the sky. the climb up there seems impossible now, and your arms seem so slippery that i’m not very sure you could hold me even if i make it.
i’m not even sure you want me to make it there.
all of these questions needle underneath my skin, and i can’t help but ask: hasn’t this game drawn out far too long? are you not tired of leaving your imprints on this house like the beginnings of a phantom, pockets of ghostly air that leave no room for any of us?
the words bloom in my mouth like a soft, rotted peach, and i want to scream in your ear, this grief of mine that has burrowed into my ribs, making my heart ache.
sometimes, all i can think about is how much i hate, hate, hate you.
AKSHITA KRISHNAN is a senior from Dallas, Texas. She is an alum of the Kenyon Young Writers’ Workshop, and her works have appeared in Girls Right the World, Atlas and Alice, Fifth Wheel Press, and Miniskirt Magazine. She edits for her school’s literary magazine, the CLAM, and serves as the President of the Coppell Young Writers’ Association, an organization dedicated to providing editorial services for writing, and a safe space for all writers. She is a fan of Mahmoud Darwish, playing with her dog, and all things Taylor Swift.