by Jenny ARNOLD

If you were to cut off part of your body and wrap it in newspaper, leave it only pillow in place of a chocolate kiss, I would prefer it to be a hand. A hand, I think, is fresh and bold and makes a statement.

I can assure you that I’d keep your hand carefully. I’d trim your nails for as long as they kept growing, and I’d glue them back on once they started to rot off. When the smell of the hand became overpowering, I wouldn’t hesitate to get it bronzed.

You wouldn’t mind if I used your hand to diddle myself now and then, would you? I’d use your hand to touch myself, and I’d practice my giggle. I need to work on my giggle. Once satisfied, I’d use your hand to touch myself deeply, and I’d work on my moan.

Maybe if I were to learn how to use them distinctly, so that they did not come out together as a giggle-moan or (worse) a moan-giggle, then things could be different. Maybe we’d stay in Saturday nights and watch movies. We’d sit, your hand between us as a playful chaperone, maybe holding the popcorn. When we were down to the kernels, you’d yawn and stretch and grab your hand, lay it on my shoulder. With a feinted cough you’d knock it, and as the cool bronze slid past my nipple I’d shudder and whisper, “Oh, Gene.”

But you know, I bet it’s more likely that nothing would change, that I’d still be passive-aggressively shrinking your boxer shorts and you’d still be cutting off pieces of your body, that I’d lie in bed mornings and wonder how it was possible that I owned your hand, yet still I couldn’t get you to touch me.

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