In the garden, our dog paws at the groundhog, its face juicy like cherry pie. I’m not lying when I say he doesn’t know his strength, as the dead thing is wrapped in plastic and placed in the bin outside. That phrase falls heavy from my mouth, a combination of words I never imagined I’d use again. My ex and I were rough. Often drunk and reckless. Sometimes he’d bind my wrists too tight, leaving behind purple lines, or he’d grasp my neck until I thought I’d die. He taught me to key-up bumps from the baggy as he drove through the night. When he wrecked, the airbag deployed and left chemical burns on his forearm. Pink blisters that popped and peeled, a pulpy mess of flesh barely attached to bone. I collect animal skulls. Our dog found one on our walk yesterday. It is still in a plastic bag, on the front porch, waiting to be cleaned and boiled. Sometimes I paint them gold or yellow and cover them with glitter. My grandpa used to call me Bones, because it rhymed with our last name and I was spindly and fragile in my youth. The night my grandpa died my mother waited in the kitchen for the news to arrive. I used to believe in premonitions and I’ve had a few dreams come true. Nightmares. The first time it happened was after my one and only orgy. I kept falling in and out of sleep, starting the same dream of being in line at a funeral. It is ok to fuck on cocaine, but not on ecstasy. I would never get my clit pierced because I’m afraid of losing feeling. My ex and I called it quits for good after he started using again. The night my girlfriend died, I woke up from a dream that I was choking. My dog is snoring near me in a chair, dreaming of what? They found her body a few days later, abandoned by a river, the life squeezed out of her.
Kelly is a queer poet who is studying in the MLIS program, with dreams of being either a librarian or vagabond in the near-ish future.