<3 by Emilie Kneifel

i less than three the fact that the heart emoticon dices love into something minuscule. a sum smaller than even a digit. almost as imperceptible as i want to be.

i, almost nothing, almost breathing, listen to my maman tss tss read over texts for the sending. listen to her vacuum, little crumbs tinkling, clack of its head on the wall. she used to tap my toes with the nozzle that never breathed out and call me what her father called her: une grosse poussiere. one big dust. overheating vacuums smell like nothing bad has happened yet. when i hear the safety of chore all my loving sucks out.

i walk into the humid dark in her jacket and smile. to be engulfed again, no one again, N the only silver sliver between no one and noah, i am only ever a palatal from a name, but for now i suck out into vacuum, now, now less than hot nothing, now less three, sitting on the kitchen linoleum, talking to her father on the phone. he asks me what she’s doing and i tell him le _________ and he asks if it’s le balai ou le ballet, the broom or the dance, not understanding that it will always be both, and he shrinks into the phone, and i shrink into this coat that puffs into me like absence. now my arms swish and i hear her, palatal poussiere breathed, overheated, less than silver. nothing father has happened yet, yet imperceptible linoleum clacks. i listen, almost, head engulfed, tap my toes, smell like nothing named.

emilie kneifel is sick and so is their mother. they live together in montreal where they grow words and green tomatoes — which have or will appear in The Adroit Journal, carte blanche, BARNHOUSE, Empty Mirror, and other empty mirrors. @emiliekneifel


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