There’s a mannequin in my closet that tries on the clothes people I love have left to me. She holds the fabric between nailless fingers, checks the mirror, puts a hood up and watches herself eat a peach. Sometimes she repairs or irons, but she never washes them. She knows better.
When I find her like this, I unbutton her shirt. She resists, holding it against herself like without it she would be naked. I tuck her back into the closet with a bunch of bananas because if she gets hungry she will wander the world looking to bring my loves back to me, yelling mouth plastic and silent. Even with the door shut I can feel her needing. She touches the buttons of all my clothes but they don’t satisfy her, even the ones they have given to me.
I catch her sucking the last bit of smell out of an old gray shirt I keep folded in the bottom of a drawer, wrapped tight around itself to attempt scent preservation. She cackles and throws the shirt down, now empty. She runs from me. In the closet she exhales the last particles left, ripping open a pineapple as sacrifice.
Sometimes I join her in the closet just to be near the people I have loved. There are things in there I don’t remember, clothes I have forgotten to give back, or didn’t want to. The mannequin has loose threads stuck to her plastic head and a mouth full of seeds. She’s a mess. The floor is covered with fruit detritus, skin and peel and pith. Her chest all hollow belly. Her hands sick with grasping. She cannot smile, only point her mouth at me, juices dripping past the idea of lips.
is a white, queer, sick, writer and furniture-maker based in Western Massachusetts. In her work, she is interested in intersections of facts and hallucinations, speaking on the body from angles of medicine, queerness, pain, perception, ancestry, and magic. She is still figuring everything out.