In sickness and in health, the marriage of your body to yourself, forever. The body does not believe in divorce. Put your soft body inside metal bodies like cars and trains and airplanes, take your body to the beach and burn it brown with oil. Bleach your teeth. Dye your hair. Ornament the flesh with ink pulled from the roots of plants. Drown it in boxed red wine you’ll throw up in your friend’s bathtub. Look at pictures of yourself as a child and reminisce about eating paper, how your body absorbed it all without flinching. Remember swallowing gum. Swallowing communion wafers. Wonder if the remnants of Christ’s body still line your stomach as protective coating against future fuck ups—holy antacids against the acid reflux of sin.
Kristen Arnett is a queer fiction and essay writer who has held fellowships at Tin House, Kenyon Review, and Lambda Literary Foundation. She was awarded Ninth Letter's 2015 Literary Award in Fiction, was runner-up for the 2016 Robert Watson Literary Prize at The Greensboro Review, and was a finalist for Indiana Review's 2016 Fiction Prize. Her work has either appeared or is upcoming at North American Review, The Normal School, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, Volume 1 Brooklyn, OSU's The Journal, Catapult, Bennington Review, Portland Review, Grist Journal, Tin House Flash Fridays/The Guardian, Salon, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her debut story collection, Felt in the Jaw, will be published by Split Lip Press in 2017. She is represented by Pande Literary.