Skin by Lucy Palmer

The skin on his face is so pale it’s almost a whisper. So thin, so close to his skull. Sometimes I wish he would eat more so he would seem more real, more solid. Sometimes his skin makes me cry. He doesn’t understand this. He says he doesn’t want to be fat. I say he doesn’t need to be fat, just not so … imperceptible. He tells me I’m silly and we fight. Fight, then fuck, and I lick his blue skin, trace his outline with my tongue, adding form, pinning him down. You’ll float away one day, I say. I’ll open a window and you’ll just drift away like an unanswered wish. Keep the windows shut, he tells me.

There is a furious vein on his forehead, the colour of being alive. I like to watch it when he sleeps, like to see it keep time like an agitated metronome. I hated it at first; it appeared to have a life of its own, not a part of him at all but something attached, clinging. But now it comforts me. I like to count the beats when I can’t sleep.

When he showers the water kisses his body and I feel jealous.

He brought me a pomegranate back from the market. I cut it open and it bled onto the table like an offering; a small death. Inside, dense, packed, worlds within worlds within worlds. We ate it together, picking out the arils one by one, then feeding each other, getting drunk on the fruit’s musky taste and our desire. I kept the seeds we rolled around our mouths and will plant them in the garden come spring. If he is here, we will plant them together, bury them in rich silky loam like a secret.

Lucy Palmer is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband and two children. She has a BA Honours degree in English and Music from Oxford Brookes University.