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Liquored Gnats Purée

by Jordan Brown

I want sweet liquor tonight and tonight I’m going to eat the gnats trapped in. You bring the rotting cheese and I’ll eat the maggots moving, moving. I’ve thought so much about purity. I’ve carved out so much of myself for purity. For purity, I’ve starved myself and, for purity, denied myself. When I was young my bee-stung lips made people think of flowers so I cut them off.

I didn’t notice how this hacked off my speech because I’d felt its lack long before. Any space at all was too much to take up. I put honey and cinnamon on lemons and that was dinner. I wanted to be incorporeal. I learned Latin, Ancient Greek, and filled my head with things distant, dead. But then I ate a lemon ant in the rainforest. I thought of how my aunt ate cockroaches in her village. I thought of how people eat spiders in their sleep and I finally digested the butterflies that had been in my stomach my whole life. In the morning you’ll bring in coffee and I’ll invite the wasp inside to sting my tongue and then I’ll swallow it, making its entrails mine.

Jordan Brown lives in Osaka, Japan and works as an English teacher. Her writing is drawn from her experience as a language student and teacher in Ecuador, Germany, Indonesia, Türkiye, and Japan. She has a BA in Classics from St. Olaf and an MA in TESOL from American University. She has work in Daylight Zine.

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