How Far Would You Go to Belong to Someone?

When all you want is to be someone’s daughter

Felicia C. Sullivan
Human Parts

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Illustration: CSA Images/Getty Images

1.1. You set your clothes on fire. It feels good, you think, watching what you’ve bought burn. Fire reminds you of when you were small, and your mother would comb out tumbleweed clumps of your hair and torch them in a glass ashtray. Watching the black forest cinder blue, you’d ask her if this is what skin smells like. She would snuff out the flames with her thumb and forefinger and shrug.

Here you are at half-life, still writing your way back to the flash of a woman you once thought you knew. She is bone-white, naked as paper, and sometimes when you dream you ask her if she knows what she’s done. You tell her she is a wound you’ll spend your whole life dressing, and what was the point of living, really, when you can forever feel the hurt of her — even after they nailed shut the box she was buried in. I can’t go on; I’ll go on. Sometimes you look in the mirror to remember what she looked like.

Hers was a love that bared its own form of violence. Show me your teeth.

You sit in the closet, door shut and in the dark, because it’s home to you. Locked door, nailed coffin, same difference — we’re both at home in the confinements of our choosing. Box that body in, seal off the air, and let that breath slip gently — easy, easy —…

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Felicia C. Sullivan
Human Parts

Marketing Exec/Author. I build brands & tell stories. Hire me: t.ly/bEnd7 My Substack: https://feliciacsullivan.substack.com/ Brand & Content eBooks: t.ly/ZP5v