A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Brynne Rebele-Henry




from Flesh Graphs



158. My breasts aren’t the same size, first I go for the socks, the tissues, the ball-

shaped objects that are stuffable, then I go for the silicone, the surgeon’s table, the

constant shifting of bra sizes. 


159. He asks if I want to drink his piss. 



160. I take a knife to the insides of my thighs, try to assemble some kind of gap, a

space where the skin doesn’t meet.



161. I lick the spaces of her that don’t connect. 



162. We watch TV on his mother’s couch with the needle-pointed penis cushions.

She offers us fruit cake slices. Bits of fur protrude from the edges. 



163. Freak of nature: my eyes change colors when I cry or do speed. 



164. Repetition, I could burn down her apartment, get a bikini wax, join a band

where everyone is really good at saying “fuck,” or I could cut my hair, change my will,

read Proust and drink bad tequila. 



165. He said she was too beautiful to die. 



166.When we get stoned I think that I am a dolphin with pearls for incisors. 



167. I drink milk and vinegar, add a dead moth and grass from his lawn.



168. Mary says her belly feels weird and we both say “what?” and she says she feels

teeth inside of it, then asks if we have E. Her face is shaped like angry moons and the

place where a diamond once was in her nose is bleeding and we see white specks of

pus or something like it. 



169. I type my name without capitals: a failured existence. 



170. He wants to be spanked before he eats his dinner. 



171. My teeth are rotten from spiked punch, I leave them scattered like fallen planets

on the yard of his dilapidated house.


172. I ate her chickens, butter-drenched I leave their remains on her kitschy gingham

table, my stomach pregnant with spray-on oil. 


173. She pierced my ears with a fork. 


174. I got so high I realized that nothing is real except for Jesus’s abs and pink glitterglue. 


175. I eat confetti, my mouth a pulpy green mass. 


176. Betty calls me a pyro, my steaming eyes and fishing trips where I come back
smelling like driftwood fires. I put Elmers glue in her ears. 


177. I want to swallow his acne, to consume him like a small animal would eat insects. 



178. Her face is a crescent moon at best, but my eyes are barely constellations. 



179. She needs help buttoning her jeans, my hands squeaking against the rubber of

her, the shudder smell that follows her home from the classrooms where she adopts

small children who can’t speak. 



180. The expanse of skin not covered in fur on his body is little to none. 



181. She swallows the turpentine first, then closes the space of my hands in paper

cutters, her butter chin quivering  with an emotion I don’t yet know. 



182. His thumb turns green first, then his forearms and neck, his lips a gray smog,

this is how it ends, he says, fingers hooked in a bed frame from the 1950s. 



183. She wants to be a rainbow sparkle unicorn, sprinkles and nothing else, perpetual

lipstick, small-armed kind of girl, but her face is a broken oval. 



184. I haven’t eaten for a week and my flesh is beginning to hang off the wire of my



185. He calls it the witching hour, the time when mirrors turn red and his skin a prick

of cold against the down of his bed. He sees swans in her sleeping eyes. 



186. Rum is my mouthwash, she says, leatherneck protruding from the dentist’s

chair, her canines stabbing out of her gums. 



187. His sparrow neck broke when the ladder was tied wrong, his body a sea of

bruises, now he eats only tapioca and Fox News, his chin indignant at the

homosexuals and the shapes their mouths are taking. He can’t move his arms but

keeps a shotgun under his rocker in case of an incident. 



188. The spaces we have broken: an arm, eight fingers, three tongues, one rib cage,

the fresh absence of a tramp stamp, the bone before the wrist, a nose, five shoulders

and a silver wrench. 



189. After the bird-boned baby I tied myself to a train track hoping for disaster, the

blow of a body and the stains it makes on iron.

My favorite souvenir is a small metal abstract sculpture that my father brought me from Lipica, Slovenia. The skulls and bodies of the horses in the sculpture are peeling away and crammed together and their nostrils are small bits of metal that have been scraped away by what looks like a fork. There are also random letters stamped around the vaguely demonic creatures.



Brynne Rebele-Henry’s poetry, fiction, and visual art have appeared in The Volta, Alexandria Quarterly, and other magazines. Her manuscript FleshGraphs emerged from being a young gay feminist intrigued by both online confessions and a society obsessed with women’s bodies. She is Assistant Editor of Verse.