Her Body by Rhoda Greaves


It started with her left lung. Three weeks later her right one went the same way.
            ‘It’s like when we used to bake hula-hoop packets and make them into those shrivelled badges.’ That’s how she described it.
‘How come you’re still breathing then?’         
‘I’m not,’ she said, placing my palm between her sweaty breasts.
Next it was her colon: ‘How do you take a shit? I asked.
‘I don’t,’ she told me, but I’d smelt her farts.
            Her liver packed up. Her toenails peeled away, and, one-by-one, her fingers loosened at the sockets: when I tried to hold her hand it fell away from my grip. Her bones grew holes. Next it was her pancreas.
‘It’s okay,’ she said, force-feeding herself Snickers.
She stunk like rotten meat and sugar, so I held my breath when we kissed.
Before too long she was packing up and moving to the cemetery.
            ‘Shall I bring a sleeping bag?’ This would be my first time at her new place.
‘No need,’ she said, her eye leaking smoke from a borrowed cigarette.
We stayed up most of the night putting on posh accents and downing jägerbombs with the ghosts. And when I unhooked my body from her corpse the next morning, I felt a sharp crack at the centre of my ribcage. I stood up to leave her and heard a long slow hiss. 

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