Hold the pose. A high cantilever can support its load while maintaining the illusion of levity. Keep your body like a Frank Lloyd Wright building.

My muscles feel like Visigoths.

“Remember… this is not the year you can afford to wander. You’re at the point of no return. You’ve been with us long enough now, longer than you’ve been anywhere at all. Lose this program, lose yourself.”

Control is the watchword. Focus on the little muscles. No, no not the electric grind of miniscule bones being pumiced to powder, the math, the micro extension that will raise me like tempered steel to reinforce the sky, up past the dancers, past Mauve.

Mauve put quicklime in my shoes.

“Now you know what it’s like to be noticed,” she said.

The mirrors made this confrontation circular. I spun on my blood-soaked slippers and even grinned.

“See… you love it you little freak.”

“My feet are stronger than yours.”

“Who cares… you don’t dance, you just calculate.”

When Mauve falls asleep, I cut her bangs ¼ inch shorter on the left side. When we wake up, we are the best of friends. New friend. Only friend. First friend.

Outside, the city is a bazaar of lost focus, willpower’s purgatory.

“Why are we on the twentieth floor?” the mistress asks.

“To take our shape from the skyline not the street,” we reply in monotone unison.

If you show pain, if discomfort shades your face like a slowly drawn shutter, then you will know true hurt.

A purple nail is born.

Puberty only happens in halves.

Mauve is playing with my cracked and bleeding feet. Opening the fissures with one long nail grown in secret. Sometimes, after lights out she sneaks into my bed and we escape into the small softness we have scoured away, saved for one another.

We tire. We are not steel; our bodies can melt. We do not snap like rebar. When we fall the ground does not shatter.

I want to make myself a sparrow’s heart, winged and warm.

Mauve wants to move on top of a pulsing beat.

Mauve wants this year to leap.

Mauve wants to be unnoticed.

Mauve can’t help but be the centerpiece.

We both wonder…

Who will fall first?

A black nail peels back. I was not careful with the wrap. I pick up my discarded bit of body, gently holding it in the deepest part of my palm. I walk slowly to my jewelry box. Inside I put my nail with the others.

One, Two, Three, Four.

                                                               Five, Six, Seven, Eight.


About the Author: Dylan is a Dad who sneaks off in the small hours to write. Dylan is a writer who spends his afternoons as a dinosaur. He has work published in Scissors & Spackle, the Kentucky Review, decomP, and Crack the Spine. Find him on Twitter @MacTaylor89.

Story Song: "Spirit Wakes" by Ptarmigan