• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 12
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When I was younger
I had a habit of eating things:
pen lids, coins, pins.
Each thing that would
materialise out the other end—
because some of them didn’t—
I would hang in my room
on a piece of string from
one wall to another.
My trophies, my mother
said, were blocks to me
making friends, from
opening myself up.
With this in mind,
I decided to swallow a key.
It was only small—
the kind that opens windows—
but when I felt it down my throat
I went buckeyed, nearly choked
on the pointed edges which
scratched my tonsils.
They were shaped
like an E
but I yelped
in a perfect G.
Panic stricken, I told my mother
what I had done.



She spooned me laxatives,
tore down the gauds from my wall,
forbade me from displaying them.
Days of inspections passed until,
finally, I was allowed privacy again,
could lock the bathroom door.
My mother let me
keep my key, albeit reluctantly—
once washed, of course—
and now, my prizes swing
from a metal chain—
I taped string to the coins to attach them—
a charm bracelet,
that I still bring to my lips,
put in my mouth,
taste their metal, their familiarity,
but never swallow.