Alana I. Capria
Those men sunk their claws into me, swung me around, made a mess of my bones, then practiced running their hands up and down my hips while screaming, [We have seen into the very red depths of you and while we were uncertain we would like anything we saw, we now agree that we do and if you will let us into your stomach depths, we will be glad to reach our arms down your throat and wriggle our fingers around in the acid you keep trapped in your gullet and beyond, but we will only do that if you promise not to burn us and can we promise that you will not burn us because we know you are often angry with us for being cruel but we do not mean cruel, it is only that we do not really love you but feel badly about telling you that truth so we try to push you away or show you that you are just another body for us to take advantage of and have you been near your gullet in a long time because sometimes, gullets dry out and then the acid flakes away and if you have no more acid, tell us now, because we do not want to waste our times with substances that have been depleted of all caustic identity and if we cannot run the risk of singeing our fingers off, then what is the point of reaching, but still, we do not want to be burned by anything that is part of you, so you must drink an excess of water until we no longer feel as though we are in any danger and did you know that we treat all active digestive systems as a sort of erupting volcano?] I will give them volcanos and lava and period blood because if these men are so hungry for anything red and stuffed with liquid magma, then I will gladly empty myself into a blender for their tastebuds to enjoy while being suffocated, then mutilated, and then burned away to the point of ash and sunburn.
This has nothing to do with men because all the men I thought I loved decayed until they were skeletons. They weren't even lucky enough to be yellow skeletons even though the gangrene got them at an early age and they spent the last few hours of their lives vomiting jaundice over everything until the surrounding world obtained the oddest yellow hue that always made my vision tremble while I batted circulating headaches away. I always think jaundice sounds like such a pretty color but it might be the same shade attributed to the postpartum depression wallpaper. Remember this: nothing lurks within the wallpaper but when it does, it only has gums wet with saliva.
Once upon a time, I stole fifteen eggs from five men. That means either each man owned three eggs or the eggs were scattered among them haphazardly. And the first egg cracked until it was a pair of breasts and then the second egg cracked to reveal a vagina and the third egg was just a belly button and the fourth egg was an ugly face and the fifth egg was yellow paint, which I smeared across my shirt to enhance the color in my cheeks. Then the sixth egg hatched into a severed wing and the seventh egg shattered and was a yolk and the eighth egg was a lost penis and the ninth egg was a skeleton key and the tenth egg was just an egg filled with spring water and I was very thirsty so I sipped. The eleventh egg was empty and the twelfth egg contained a miniature radiator and the thirteenth egg was just a floor tile and the fourteenth egg was a cross-section of the small intestine and the fifteenth egg was a sliver of rancid bacon and I was so hungry by that point, I ate everything up and had to have my stomach pumped.
Here is a fun fact: the men used to waddle. They were used to throwing their bodies around, which meant the muscles stiffened over time, and so when they walked, they kept their knees jutting out and their arms were always five inches away from their sides to the point of levitating free of the body. I tried to push the arms down but I needed more weights than I could carry and so I just ironed the flesh flat and hoped steam heat would do more than pounds of pressure. Sometimes, when the men walked on tiptoe, they rose up so high, their calves split and then their ankles cracked, and finally, their shins slid right off their legs and drained into a grass patch that should have been mowed but was systematically neglected. Then they had to treat their legs like mummies, wrapping the skin so tightly, they couldn't wriggle their toes and thus, suffered from a weakened cardiovascular system and an odd purple-black stain that ran the lengths of their soles. Sometimes, the men developed iron cravings and couldn't stop lurching towards anything that was reminiscent of an iron, a radiator, a metal bathtub, a pot belly stove, a water heater, a microwave, a piece of sheet metal, a cast iron pipe, and a mattress spring coil. They ate until their stomachs burst from so much odd placement in their acid pools and then they suffered acid reflux for the next fifteen days. It makes sense, fifteen days for fifteen eggs, but these might have been different men than the ones who gave up the eggs.
Later, much later, when the yellow wallpaper begins to fade and all the men come out of hiding with the latex masks still adhered to their faces, I think, [What if I made a mistake and all those men really did love me but I was so desperate to think they were lying that I shattered their vertebrae without having a reason and so they will always be paralyzed from the waist down unless I feed them to someone who eats humans but then I would be aiding and abetting a cannibal which is a crime against the victims and of human nature and I never want to get in trouble for that so maybe I should just send them to sea where they can learn to float on the white crests of waves like mermen and then I'll be able to see a mermaid for the first time in my life because what mermaid would be able to resist a fresh merman but what if there aren't any mermaids and as I watch the men floundering around pretending to be mermen with just their arms, they drown and I'm not a good enough swimmer to save them and so they get eaten by a shark and on one hand, I am happy that a shark was fed, but on the other hand, I am sad that I fed these men to a shark, because for the most part, they weren't horrible men although they made mistakes, but if they've made mistakes because they're human, haven't I made an equal amount of mistakes, like shunning the ones who loved me and mistaking the intentions of the ones who didn't, and this wallpaper is much too yellow, even now as it's faded and I think I will be sick if I have to stay any closer to this yellowness.] And so I strip the wallpaper with a razor blade and then I paint the walls until they are bright white and I punch several holes into the walls to let some extra natural light in because I have always loved natural light and the truth is, anything fluorescent aggravates my depression.