Lauren Milici: He Doesn’t Ask
Thomas Shellberg

Thomas Shellberg


He doesn’t ask, but I tell him I don’t want to be in this body anymore. I tell him that the day Karen Carpenter’s heart stopped, her mother unmade all the beds & pulled out every single kitchen drawer. I can’t go, she told the paramedics. The house is a mess. I tell him that Karen weighed ninety-one pounds when she passed, & I am not far behind. He knows this. He knows that my nose bleeds on the days I don’t eat; that my happiest moments are just before blacking out. He knows that Death is my first love. I can’t compete, he tells me. I kick the covers off the bed & let him count my ribs. He has a name for each one.



You wore your mourning shoes to the bar because you knew it was over before anyone even spoke. Before the liquor spilled & I fell to my knees. Before I bled on your jacket, the good one. Sorry. Some nights my skin folds open & peels back. I wore the dress I want to be buried in. I drove home. I left you open-mouthed in the doorway, again. I left & the faucet started to drip, the basement flooded. I missed you already. The radiator burst & burned all the letters you wrote me or I started the fire or nobody’s dead so does it even matter. Tonight I extract my left molar, place it in your palm. Forgive me? I’m starting to run out of teeth.

Lauren Milici is a Florida native who writes poetry, teaches English, and is currently getting her MFA in Creative Writing somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia. When she isn’t crafting sad poems about sex, she’s either writing or shouting into the void about film, TV, and all things pop culture. @motelsiren