a fish, charlotte tells me, is made for chomping. i nab her lipstick from her vanity & slather it across my mouth hoping it can make me seem like i have a mouth. red means target, red means taking. the magazines say kissing means swallowing a boy whole. when i look in the mirror i see a martyr-ghost even before humbert steals me. is the fish the one chomping, or the one being chomped? i imagine myself mouthless but in my dreams all that remains is my mouth, painted red, painted receiving endlessly, faceless & of faces only, faceless & defaced. i lied about kissing charlie but took enough of humbert the first night to make up a cast of other boys within my teeth; he took more of me & he never took the red. red means they don’t remember & i can live. the details need fudging & forgetting, tissue-smearing & finger-blending. i want only this from them & from myself: my own voice, over humbert & charlotte & fish, my own mouth, saying: no. no. no.
Courtney Felle is a sophomore at Kenyon College. Her writing currently focuses on the landscape of queerness, illness, and gender, & can be found in Rag Queen Periodical, Chautauqua Literary Journal, & Brain Mill Press, among others. In addition to writing, she edits Body Without Organs Literary Journal & campaigns for congressional candidates.