By: Amber D. Tran



I carve him out of my body.

Wiping the semen from my fleece nightgown, a white robe that contrasts with the congealing blood of my Power Rangers panties, I taste copper and salt. He makes me promise not to tell anyone. He baits me, a fishhook strewn with my guts and innards, incarnadine meat that he has chiseled from my insides. He is a beast in child’s play skin. I am claimed, his fingerprints on my neck, and as his new territory, he controls the movement of my porcelain doll limbs.

He moves me on my belly. I scream into the pillow that smells like his shampoo.

I feel my tiny body split in half.

He is the deaf, a creature submerged in a sea of skin and stone, and my words bounce off him every time he touches me there, the bisection of my femininity, the gift I had been saving. “Stop,” I break my teeth pleading with a monster. He is a mirror, tossing my words back at me, “Stop, stop,” and I bite my tongue, I swear that I bleed on the cotton sheets beneath me, and a blanket of yellow consumes me. His hand claws the back of my neck. He tightens his grip, continues to reflect my voice, “Stop, stop, stop.”

The bed creaks. He says my name, uses it as a weapon with which to beat me, and I am fighting him with pink hands, the warm of my heart, and I feel another whop on the back of my head. The colors swirl on the marble of my eyelids, and he fills me with something, it severs the flesh between my legs, and I howl like a beast in the wild. He is alpha, and I am just a reptile shedding my skin.

I see the moon through his bedroom curtains. I am paled and blue. He leans down and asks me to tell him that I like him. I am the mute, I am absent of composition, a paper-thin tribute offered on a pedestal made out of my spine. He pushes harder, I am sure my bowels have been extracted from my insides, and I offer him a weak response, “I like you,” and I keep saying it, “I like you, I like you,” and he fails to absorb me. He is not the sponge I need him to be. Instead, he turns me over, slathers saliva across the skirt of my neck, and he tries again.

My eyes trace the shapes of constellations on his popcorn ceiling.

He is in me again. My whimper enlightens him.

When he is finished, he rolls over onto his back, the breath escaping him in small storm clouds, and he reminds me that I am not to tell anyone what has happened. Afraid to find his coal-colored eyes studying me, I continue to insert small orbs of light on the wall above me, tiny freckles of bright bulbs in the bodies of Cassiopeia and Lyra. The pain at my nucleus burns with the kiss of fire and rain, and I imagine my heart in shreds between my legs.

“Good-night.” He is still next to me.

My blood is in his bed. Afraid to leave more of me to him, I cry without tears.

The stars are cold tonight.




A Pushcart Prize nominee and a two-time Best of the Net nominee, Amber D. Tran graduated from West Virginia University in 2012, where she specialized in lyrical non-fiction and contemporary poetry. She is the Editor-in-Chief for the Cold Creek Review literary journal. Her work has been featured in CalliopeAfter the PauseSpry Literary JournalCheat River Review, and more. Her award-winning debut novel, Moon River, was released in September 2016. She currently lives in Alabama with her husband and two dogs, Ahri and Ziggs.

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