When I was a girl I wanted a dirt bike and fresh bruises and to someday be a father of boys. My left molar wouldn’t fall no matter how much I shook it so every day I pulled hard enough to draw blood and spit it into a glass jar. I hid the Mason jar in the backyard, checked it was sealed every night. Understand now that I did not care if anyone noticed I bled. I had no instinct for anything, not secrets or speech or leaning. I practiced saying my own name. I practiced the way I perch at the end of a bar. When the boy and I met, that too was a rehearsal. He popped a quarter in the pool table and I practiced girl. He liked how easy it was with me. All year he had his ease and I had split ends, the state of Maine, a body like a room I only sometimes inhabited. I made a bouquet of glass jars behind our dumpster. For him, I keep my blood to myself. I leak black tar into our bed. I leave my hands in the sink, and when I come back for them they’ve rusted. I have rusted. I rust and rust. When I disappear it’s like a man does, leaving spare parts behind, my name in the garage.
In our dream band, on baroque violin:
Gaia Rajan is the author of the chapbooks Moth Funerals (Glass Poetry Press 2020) and Killing It (Black Lawrence Press 2022). Her work is published or forthcoming in the 2022 Best of the Net anthology, The Kenyon Review, THRUSH, Split Lip Magazine, Diode, Palette Poetry, and elsewhere. Gaia lives in Pittsburgh. You can find her @gaiaraja on Twitter or Instagram.