about the author

Jacqueline May has an MFA from the University of Illinois and teaches at Purdue University. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in publications including Paper Darts, Storm Cellar, and The Toast.

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The Light, the Heat  

Jacqueline May

The day after you throw him out, you grow a hand. It waves between your shoulder blades on a new forearm. You crane in the mirror and see blunt nails, light creases in a pink palm. The life line is long.

You roll the wrist, test its flexibility. The hand strokes your hair, crown to nape, sweetly. If you concentrate, you can set it petting while you wash dishes, while you plunge your relentless phone into suds.

The next day, sparks spit from your hairbrush. You learn to twist a curl to light a pinpoint of fire. From across the bathroom you burn tissues, one by one, until the empty box is dusted with ash. That night you dot new constellations on the bedroom ceiling.

In the morning, you wake to an odd convexity. Between your thighs gleam steel shears. You squat for the note that crept under the front door overnight. It flutters to the mat in two clean pieces.

You confetti envelopes, sever necklaces, slice sweaters into strips. You snip lacy chemises into wisps of thread. When they burn, they glow orange an instant and vanish.

As his guitar weeps below your bedroom window, you stroke your hair and unlatch your tool kit. You cut, you hone, you hammer, you weld. The music drifts, irrelevant, among the bright sparks.

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