There is a couple on the floor of a closet. She has just come from the salon after church, her bangs trimmed so short they are barely visible. He is not into what she suggests, swallowing her various limbs until he either chokes, or a limb goes entirely missing. They start with her feet, first left, then right, but it doesn’t work—they both jamb at the back of his throat. Yet when she sticks her right index finger in, something shifts. His throat opens, her entire hand slides deeper. His heart opens as he swallows her hand, past his epiglottis, up to her wrist. She leans back, eyes closed, ecstatic. He presses his arms over his heart, not ever wanting to lose this moment. What is there to lose? She is thinking about what life might be like without a limb, without an organ. Without desires that are beyond this realm. The longer he swallows her arm, the more possibilities open up.


Originally published at Ghost Parachute.

Robert Vaughan teaches workshops in hybrid writing, poetry, fiction at locations like UWM, Red Oak Writing, The Clearing, Synergia Ranch and Mabel Dodge Luhan House. He leads roundtables in Milwaukee, WI. He was a finalist for the Gertrude Stein Award for Fiction (2013, 2014). He was the head judge for the Bath International Flash Fiction Awards, 2016. His short fiction, ‘A Box’ was selected for Best Small Fictions 2016 (Queen’s Ferry Press). Vaughan is the author of five books: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (CCM); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press) and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press). www.robert-vaughan.com.

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