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A Few Short Words

Dense Not Thick

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care

Assistance

She’s got one of those out of date names like Claudette or Glenda but I miss it for the lipstick on her teeth. Staring herself, she asks if something’s wrong in the style of spun yarn. I lay a finger to the bruise on my cheek and say I might not be coping. She smiles, sharing that porcelain stain again, and tells me she might have some literature about the possibility of help. I think about practicing origami in school when they still thought an education might help. I tell her I’m grateful and leave her to her teeth.

Cares

If you opened Pandora’s box just the littlest bit, I imagine it would sound like one of Jonah’s sighs. When he squeezes my hand gently and lets one escape, like demon vapours, I don’t say anything, but squeeze back and wait. ‘Sometimes I worry about breathing spider eggs in by accident,’ he says. ‘What if they hatched in my lungs and I didn’t realise.’ Jo doesn’t need placation, he just needs to be heard, to be witnessed. I fasten my fingers through his and look forward. You’d know, I say, you would know if something was wrong with you.

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