I’m shedding. Skin. There’s scabby flakes accumulating in all of the carpets. And in my sheets. And in the bathroom rugs. To be honest it’s a nightmare for dermatillomania like mine, but the tattoo is healing fine, so it doesn’t matter anyway. Last night I listened to Modern English assure me that the future’s open wide three dozen times in a row, and the clouds couldn’t decide if they wanted rain or not. I’m indecisive, too. This message is coming to you between corporate phone calls and moments of data entry workflow management. Thank you for calling. the vendor will ship in three to five business days. your order has been delayed until november. I keep thinking that someday I will put a date into the computer and maybe the date will come after our last day is over and someone, beleaguered, will call an empty, cobwebbed office demanding a status update and the phone will ring forever. Hello? Hello? Can someone please direct me to your sales department? No one will answer. The phones are too heavy for the spiders or our phantoms to lift. After a certain hour of the night, the street I live on looks abandoned to the darkness, because no one leaves their porch lights on anymore, because nobody comes home or leaves home anymore. There is new language in my brain for all of the ways that it has been macgyvered into brain-hood. I am learning to balance on a rolling board and scrape my knees and fall on my ass in every tennis court in town. The parks are empty because it rains, often, and also because nobody comes to the park or leaves the park anymore. There is one person allowed inside my bubble. It is lucky that I love him. It is lucky that he is not sick of me yet. But there is still time. Yesterday there were three small mice huddled in one corner of my blue city-issued recycling bin. Two, I thought, until I gently tipped the bucket to slide them to safety and their day-dead sibling slid out with them. When they fell into the leaves, one of the live ones was so weak he could only hold onto a stem with one little claw, dazed, yes, but breathing. Because I have not been feeding myself much at all, all I had to give them was bread, some tap water in a tupperware lid. On any other day it might have looked like a tea party — cakes and saucers — but this was Tuesday morning, and it was raining, and the mice ate honey whole wheat chunks while they stared at their dead sibling, who I had covered with three fallen leaves. I scheduled a burial for that afternoon but by the time I returned, the body was gone, and so were the leaves, and so was the bread, and so were the living. There are small live things in the drop ceiling in my strange apartment and I hope some of them are mice. Which is a strange thing to hope. All hope is strange, now. It feels out of place in my strangely folded brain. Is that bad writing? I can’t tell what’s bad anymore. All writing is bad, now. All of it is strange, now. Is this a good motif for a short piece of lyrical writing? All noun is strange, now. All I think about is when I can scrape my knee again, if I’ll ever stop feeling dizzy, who designed the office chair to be such a hardship for the human tailbone. There are only so many phrases I say when you pull the string inside my back. Thank you for calling. This is Kelsi. One moment, please. The reel that holds the string inside my back is getting loose from too much use. The tape is wearing out. Yesterday the mirror looked at me and said, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you’re strange, now. All I know how to do well is bake sunken loaves of bread, and take hot pictures of my butt, and stare out the window. I make a brief list of goals for the coming year: kick-flip, plant tarragon, disentangle. It feels so inaccessible: tricks, energy, the future.