• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 04

The Cuttlebone

She is standing on her face.
Her face is an endearing animal,
drawn with two dots and half

a circle. Her feet are in the air.
Her cheek is pressed to the carpet.
Her breasts hover as if weightless.

Her stomach is a frilled extension
undulating like a Stingray. Pink
trickles down folds into her palms.

Her arms are two flaps. Hair balances
on her head. She takes a big breath
and sucks her shell inside, a small

human-wide revolt. She hears the
crackle of her Sellotape skin, clicks
of her joints, breath dragging over

toneless tissue as if something on
the outside is taking a solo, riffing
on the tunes of bleeding and crying.

She stores her mother in the carpet
with the dust mites and silverfish,
she visits daily. With her feet flexed

in the air and her cheek against her
childhood she has a neutral kind of
buoyancy. She forgets that minutes


The Cuttlebone

earlier her day was stained sepia
and in the mirror she saw a cuttlefish
with glowing veins and pink beaks

for hands and eyes with nothing
at their centre. The pulse at her cheek
is faint now. The smell is not stale

perfume, just the fumes of morning.
She puts her feet back on the ground,
touches her face and feels features

reappearing. She stamps the floor
and smiles. She is not a child’s drawing,
there is something living in her eyes.