The woman who ate her husband’s ashes. The woman who buried her husband alive. What is the difference between the two? None: death meant nothing to either—and neither did the husbands. Oh, what a shame, no? No. To go on and on, one mouth after another, is a survival tactic. It is a means of placing the thread through the eye of the needle despite the tremor. You understand, don’t you? It is highly unlikely that you have made it this far without once meeting inability. I meet her daily; she knocks on my door in the morning and leads me out of bed. We are still not friends. When we sit together, it is not out of choice— though it might seem like it. You, eavesdropper, must not listen to me so keenly. Life does not offer advice through the tongue of a stranger— I know, because I have tried, often and to no avail, to pry an answer out of a conversation I did not belong in. Well well; very well. It is our duty to make mistakes, and then our thin heart’s tendency to thrash its two hind legs hard into the soil and kick dirt over them. It propels us into further, into then. Bars of steel. Silence like acid rain. I am movement. Back or forth is only relative. I am fluid, unresisting. And so I topple over, with a nose so large, and stain the floor with my blood. I would complain about the pain, but first! Let us laugh at my folly. (Am I falling in love or building a cage?) The water shifts from cheek to cheek. I am thirsty; I cannot afford to gulp my bottle empty. How fickle-fine, how crease-line. In which way does memory travel— from my skin to yours, or otherwise? Silent reader, tell me. What can I do to paint myself into a pretty picture? I am far from. I sense you lift your brows at me. I am a child, though, so forgive me. I am blank, simply. A screen of white doused in oil: scenes spilling, slipping. Bars of steel. Silence like acid rain. The taste of erosion becomes the salt of our savoury. Take me in, will you? For now. / I need a pause before I continue.