I have without him, so he crawls inside my ribcage to look through my bones, or the railing at the top of the stairs. He didn’t grow in me when he was a baby although he wanted to. In place of this loss he must feel my heart with his hands, feel my blood pumping around him like the womb that was never his or mine. I tell him it's just a saying, feelings are not in your heart—it’s really all your brain—but he parts my valves with his blistered fingers and waits for the fun. He cannot wait for long.
I tell him he can’t live inside me today, but he insists and yells that I do not love him if I won’t let him in.
He shrieks that I’m hiding fun from him because I know where he is and I won’t pretend otherwise, and groans to himself he needs to do a better job hiding—he’s so bad at it. He reaches his hands to my hands, his feet to my feet, and wears my body around like a puppet.
I hear a slurping, lip smacking sound come from within me. Ask gently as I can, the way one talks to oneself in low-voiced conduction:
What are you doing, lovey?
And he says, I got hungry.
Please don’t do that, those are mine and I need them to live.
You can’t live without me.
I know it, but I won’t survive, is what I mean to say.
You don’t want me!
I want you.
But you’d let me starve!
Then you will let me eat when I’m hungry.
Alison is a mixed and messy writer existing in Massachusetts. They have some other stories in Rejection Letters, Gone Lawn, Surely, and elsewhere. twitter @catholicked