• By Makeda Solomon (she/her)
  • Art “Cutout” by Sophia Lovell (she/they)

She cried in the dark before. Hidden under the heavy black and waves of softness that concealed her streams.

She thought herself a genius the first time. But the streams and the feeling hardened the softness and in turn the darkness.

A hard dark is not as nice as a soft one, she noticed.

So she learned true genius. The first time she swallowed the ball of nails, held together by glues and tapes and feelings. Sharp and slimy. They began in her eyes then found home in her throat. She thought she was going to choke! But she swallowed and swallowed and swallowed again until there were no nails and glues and tapes and feelings to swallow anymore.

After the first, it became second nature.

The familiar scratches and aches and bruises stayed behind. The glues that threatened to shut her up forever were no more. She would swallow and swallow and swallow again. And when she began to ponder why she swallowed at all she swallowed even harder. She forgot how to stop swallowing and she forgot how to vomit them out with fury and vengeance and feeling into pure-blissed light so all would see and feel the feeling concoction of their creation.

Hilingna nat. Ambeseet.

She hadn’t swallowed in months. She missed its urge. She wondered where the nails and glues and tapes and feelings went and when she could trace their scratches and burns instead of the outlines of feeling-forgotten scars of the terribly hollow vessel.

Feeling never left.

The scars that she swore forgot held all.

So when feeling roved, she refused her temptation. She seized the vessel by the neck and commanded it to forget what it thought it knew because it knew nothing beyond feeling. She told it to learn to unlearn and learn to refuse the desire to refuse. Told it to learn to only house softness and feeling. Told it to swallow them no longer but eject them from all parts and go be Felt! She screamed and screamed and screamed until the vessel was only feeling and refused to be anything more.

When the nails and glues and tapes and feelings come they accept them and thank them and let them out to find salvation in waves of soft light. ▲