I know a boy who called his girlfriend’s body a “crime scene.” Dad, my body is a crime scene. My body is lint and gasoline and matchstick. My body is a brush fire. It’s ticking, Dad, a slow alarm. I have rain boots. Lots of them. It isn’t raining anymore. The words are coming back, Dad. The way they fit and jump in the mouth. I want ice cream and long letters. I want to read long love letters but I don’t think he loves me. I think I’m used up. I think I’m the grit under his nails, the girl who looks good in pictures. I don’t think he loves me. I think they broke me, Dad. I think I drink too much and it’s because they broke me. I heard about two girls recently, two women crushed like cherries in a boy’s jaw. It opened me, Dad. My body is melted wax, it is ripe and stink and bent. It is a mistake. I walk like an apology. I don’t hate men, Dad, I don’t. I want a washing machine. I want someone else to do the dishes, someone to walk the dog. I have a hornet in my head, Dad. A hornet. She’s an angry bitch — she hurls herself against my skull. She stings. And stings. I know I don’t make sense, Dad. This is the problem. I’m a sick girl, a crazy wishbone. I have razors under my tongue. I’m sorry I cut you, Dad, I’m so—so sorry. I gave you a card for Father’s Day once, it said you were my hero. You are. Your laugh is a thunderclap, you love like surgery. I think they broke me, Dad. I can’t erase their faces. I want to swim, Dad. Remember when I used to hopscotch? I used to make you laugh. My feet are hot. The bottoms of my feet are scorched sand, August asphalt. My body is a slug, a mob of sticky wet rot. No one touches me anymore because I’m rot. Because my body is a spill no one wants to clean up. They cracked me open, Dad, I know you don’t want to hear about it. You don’t want to hear how they scissored me, how they gnawed me like raw meat. No one wants to hear how they made me drink lemon juice, how they kicked the dog, how they upturned the furniture, no one wants to hear how my skin turned to a dark thick of purple and black and lead. I watch the homeless a lot, Dad. I watched a man with a cup of coins and chips of skin carved out of his face. He had freckles. He needs medicine, Dad. He needs to stop the hornet. My body is a hive. I am red ants and jellyfish. A yellow sickness. My body is a used condom in an alley in Jersey City. I don’t think he loves me, Dad. My body is a fetus in biohazard tank. A Polaroid pinned to a cork board in Brooklyn. I think I’m hurt, Dad. I think I was the tough girl for too long. My body is a wafer, a thin, soft melt on a choir boy’s tongue.

Jeanann Verlee, “Communion”
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