and down-turned mouth? she's always in a frown, a coma of malleable lips pushed like clay. perhaps they were formed by the phantoms behind her teeth, or the myths drowning in her wet mouth. they say she has evil eyes. stained ones.
i talked to her one dark morning when she sat writing letters into a wood desk. i said, "hi." and she looked at me and turned away. so did i. the next day she walked up to me out of nowhere and she said, "you're weak." and then she smiled real crooked, a poison kind of smile. she told me stories about broken love and the snakes under her skin instead of blood. she's their cocoon and they're too afraid to shed her off. a writhing, rocky heart ate away at her insides, giving the snakes something to eat, she told me. that was why she was too skinny and pale-blooded. cold-blooded. zero-blooded.
she made the most gruesome jokes, too. i couldn't tell you 'cause i forgot them all but she did. and i always wanted to run from her, to scream at her. i never did; i just listened with open ears and wide eyes like an unknowing child, who would repeat the dirty words to others. i probably did.
her jokes still come with tinny whispers somedays when it rains.
she told me she loved me once
that was the biggest joke of all