Post-Swallow: Original poem by Gabby Bess



I have a friend who keeps telling me that she just wants to be a normal girl but then changes her mind and continues to act strangely, which I like and admire. (Specifically the part about indecision and unwillingness to commit.) I guess it’s true that there are different types of girls that you can be at any given time. At most, I was probably 24 different girls at once. I’m not a callous girl, or an unfeeling one, but I’m certainly not a lonely girl. Or a sad one. In the hotel room, I just wanted to be one of many. I wanted each individual act of living on our bed to be anthologized, highlighted in their glut. There is something in being where so many bodies have been that I can romanticize easily. The sheets were neither mine nor yours but I ate them anyway. We stood the excitement of ruining that which belonged to no one. There was nothing on the walls — just prints of flowers and fruits from some generic retailer. The title of my memoir will be Still Life. You know as well as I do that to entertain a new person is just an exercise in amusement. I could perform all my faces for you and it would be a nu romance. But tru love? I don’t know about that. A forgetful girl, I left comfort on some shore that I sometimes imagined returning to – though it seemed more like a fantasy now. I could never return because, for example, I started dreaming of libraries, consuming bodies and swallowing human hair. I’m ruined and I belong to no one now. There are strangers whose hair I eat on accident. And then there is my own hair that I chew on deliberately. And then there is your hair that I patiently swallow at night. And then there are always other things that can’t be accounted for and unfortunately, there is this new sadness that hangs over us. But I ate the sadness. And when it wouldn’t fall away, I ate your body with the sky still attached to it. And when you called me a curious girl, the whole room took blueish tint. We became so quiet. Our own bodies towered over us in the absence of other images on the wall. To replace genuine feeling, I started performing this person who marveled at small things and I just wanted to touch everything at once. I just wanted. I was a Good Girl. I just wanted. I guess it’s true that I probably pout more now than I did in 2012. I guess it’s just the new thing that I do in the bathtub or at a restaurant when I’m subtly pushing my tits together and you’re not noticing. I just let the juice from the watermelon drip down my fingers and I licked them clean. I threaded my wet fingers through the handle of the mug that said #1 WIFE, though I didn’t deserve it. Oh well. I just hope that when you picture my body, I am two fingernail painting emojis and a knife emoji.

Post-Swallow: Original poem by Gabby Bess for WONDER.

Follow Gabby at seemstween


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