Each One Had a Name

Dawn folds itself over the sheets. Her fingernails on my chest, finding the rise and fall of my contours, reading the thin words of my flesh. 

 “This one?” she asks. Her index plumbs an indentation in my belly. 

 “Seventeen,” I answer. A fish boning knife. She traces the shape of a soldered worm on my side, vestige of a razor.

“And this one?” she asks again. 

 “Four,” I say. She nods. Like she understands. 

 “How many more until you finish your list?” 

 I sigh and shrug, keep my eyes on the oil lamp. Count the slow flickers as it chokes.

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