One of us is plucking agitated centipedes out of ears, one has made pasta with red sauce from the roots of her bloody hair, one walks the room in flat circles saying, “I am dead. I am dead. I am—” though we can’t hear the words because his mouth is sewn shut with barbed wire.
Out the grated window is the clothesline where our measly souls hang and sway next to all our slaughtered pets, next to a kite tail of mangled tongues.
Our uniforms match, same see-through shirts made of stripped off skin. When the door clatters open, the two head Shrinks float in together, though it’s Mom who says, “Time for dinner.”
There’s a person in this cell block that might not be a person after all, so we are getting thinner but smarter, like strands of wise crimson string.
We are trying to change the combination locks in our eyes, stuff our keyhole eardrums with dry ice or garlic, bury our voice boxes in the neighbor’s non-complicit backyard.
But there are reasons the impossible is impossible, reasons some jackals want more than a paternal kiss from you in the wide shaking dark, a few hours after they’d made you dinner, having asked, “How was it?”