The Last Word
The wife cuts off the husband’s beard & keeps it as a pet. It lives on her bedroom floor & purrs & mews & asks her for food. The husband is cold without his beard the way the wife would be cold without his beard. It leaves little rashes when it rubs up against her calf & the husband sees them & feels jealous. The husband & the wife fight about his beard & the way the wife loves the beard & the way the beard sits on the dinner table & watches the husband when he eats. The way the beard is always hungry.
The husband cuts out the wife’s tongue & keeps it in a cage. He lines the cage with old newspapers because the tongue is messy. Whenever the husband is in the house he forces the tongue to sing. When he leaves the house the tongue stops singing & then it is just a little grey tongue. The wife gets smaller & greyer until she looks like a cut-off tongue. Eventually the husband sends her away & as she’s walking away she hears her tongue singing from inside its cage.
The Killing Floor
Your boyfriend gets a job at the Ghost Factory. He works the morning shift so he’s usually gone before you wake up. When you wake up the pillow smells like him but it’s lukewarm, the same temperature as the air the walls your skin & your breath. At the Ghost Factory, your boyfriend pulls a machete off a rack on the wall and by the time you wake up and heat a cup of tea, he is hacking the ghosts apart. He finds it satisfying, your boyfriend, when the blade bites into joints. He tosses the parts into bins marked for example ‘legs’ or ‘arms’ or ‘torsos.’ Your boyfriend is slick with blueblack gore up to his biceps. You can’t drink your tea fast enough, the last half-inch is always cold. You’re waiting for the bus. Your boyfriend is staring into black eyes, carving ghosts into parts small enough to carry or hide. The heads go down the trash chute, they have no use.