The Lip Jar
DRAMATIC PROSE POEM
By Laura Tuggle Anderson
She rips off his lips with her two hands. Wraps the lips in paper towels, puts the package in oil, in a jar, and hammers down the lid. Now she digs at the earth under the fig tree, mixing blood and skin with the wet night grass and dirt. The low branches scrape her bent back; she tosses dirt behind her, between her legs, like a dog searching. Noiselessly she plants the lip jar in its hole, covers it with black earth. Salt tears drop onto blades of grass and an ant walking there; it quivers under the weight of the water.
The dust on the fig leaves causes her to sneeze, and she bends her head back. Through the knobby branches she sees the stars, hovering high and untouchable. She wipes her nose with the back of her hand and smells the dirt left there, also chicken fat, his smell, still on her hands. (There are holes in her skin now where his voice touched her, as though his words were acid and burned away traces of her.)
Her body sways and she reaches out, hangs onto the trunk of the fig tree, cold and thick and unmoving. The ripples of the bark scrape her cheek. She wants to dig a hole for herself under the tree, pack down the dirt until it fills her nostrils, ears, mouth, eyes, deep inside. Her lungs packed with dirt, worms careening around her bones, even worms crawling up into her darkest place.
He found that place before she even had a name for it, a girl with a womans insides. She pulls off her sneakers, takes off her jeans, her t-shirt, and yanks at her hair until it frizzes and rips with spit and tears. She stomps on the earth over the lip jar, throws her body onto it, slams her head into the ground as if to push the lip jar so far down, so deep in the dirt, vibrating from her pounding, that the jar will pop out the other side of the earth and spin away past the stars.
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