TENDERNESS: 3 ACTS

by Callia Liang

1.
Habits keep us human:
peel back the skin underneath a fingernail
to remember the pink of flesh.
While waiting to heal,
ask yourself:
Do I remember
what it feels like to touch
without hurting?

2.
So you’re leaving.
So you’re leaving and for good this time.
You’re holding onto your suitcase and 
I’m wishing you well,
the words rolling back into my mouth
becoming grains of sand stuck
on lips, breasts, legs —
grains of sand rolling, forming tumors
in all the soft parts you
once tasted.

3. 
Something citrusy
pops
eye and all the tender parts of tongue
stinging with flavor.

Something tender
blooms
and thrashes, blindly,
until heart finally gives in
and swells.

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