You were a friendless child capturing moths in glass jars, telling them the names of kids at your school under your breath, your mother teaching you to swallow the insects whole, knowing that the quivering they made in your belly would create a song in your lungs, a fluttering that in your teenage years seduced girls with swollen eyes like yourself and cut into the hearts of people whose skin seemed impenetrable, so more moths were swallowed, and you learned how they crept under your flesh and scratched the inside of your skin, and you learned to love to sing until the first girl you fell in love with kissed you and a moth snuck into her throat, choking her, forcing coughs and tears and blood, and when she left, she swore it was fine, but her chest was beating with that moth’s wings, so when she closed the door behind her, you smoked them all out, cigarette after cigarette, vodka and vomiting until you were purged, and you swore you’d learn to live with that emptiness in your stomach and lungs, that itch burning under the surface.

Will Walawender is a student at Sarah Lawrence College pursuing his MFA in fiction. He is currently a blogger for Lumina literary journal. His fiction has previously been published in The Bookends Review.