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You Don’t Say


Last week my father came into town. I hadn’t seen him in six years. I got drunk. He watched me eat dinner, his eyes wide, mouth open. My boyfriend said the chicken bone cracked between my teeth like a candy cane.

The next morning my father said good-bye. He kissed my cheek. “You have a considerable hunger.”

“You don’t say,” my boyfriend replied.

That night my boyfriend took me out to dinner. He yanked away my plate, held it high over his head. “Would you listen?”

I reached across the table and scooped pasta out of his bowl, ate it with my hands.

He sighed. “You have tomato on your chin.”

The waiter came and went. Only wine glasses remained. I drank deep and quick and the glass slipped and cut me.

My boyfriend hauled me out of my seat and dragged me to the bathroom. He pushed my face under the faucet, held back my hair. “You’re not hungry,” he whispered. “You’re not.”

And the way he kissed my eyelids, eating my tears— I believed him.

Elizabeth Koch is a writer and editor based in New York. Her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart, and is forthcoming in Glimmer Train.

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