the wax paper

 special place in hell.

Tatiana Saleh


all the flowers died so i boiled them. they died because i forgot to  water them. i forgot to water them because i was too busy thinking about giving them to you. get it now? there’s a special place in hell  for people like this. i boiled the flowers until the color ran from each petal and the room steamed like a rose. it’s 2018, and we’re here to experience it all. fuck a metaphor. don’t just run through my hair,  put a piece in your mouth. god I fucking love you. i’d do some ugly  shit for you. others have asked. i’ve mangled myself six times over. when the flowers were drained and i had nothing left to offer i  poured the scalding water down my shirt and imagined your beard, and the heat rolls over me. i start every morning with the bright,  burning image of your mouth and carry it near my breast the rest of  the day. i lay in bed and imagine you there, lotioning the flames at  my heels. extinguishing nothing your teeth haven’t grazed. you want all this crazy? prove it. skin leathers and shrivels to feather dust, but it warms me just the same. bite through and I bleed. hey baby,                 dinner’s on the table. 

tiny tiny world.


more often i catch glimpses of myself in a smaller world. while making snacks at the party i go to the bathroom and another door opens. the house is full and it’s christmas and i don’t tell anybody. i think, ‘no one in the world knows where exactly i am right now.’   hum hum hum. i study my face in the mirror, i chew my hair. everything i do is a memory. i wash my hands thorough because i should and because i want to (how often can shit be both?) and it smells good. smell smell. tap tap. adjust my watch. c’mon jesus, give me a clue or return me to dust. adjust. move my eyebrows around and press-press the mirror til my fingertips leave a slick only i will remember. a soft-edged world. i think on mostly the same things, whosit’s men killed so-and-so, except no one’s here to watch me think them. c’mon jesus, give me one image crystal clear. i fold beneath pressure i create. i make eye contact with myself and hold it only half the time. kid, it’s real. god bless the peace i can afford. i’m searching for space i’m only half sure is there.

Tatiana Saleh studies Political Science and Education at the University of Florida. Her work can be found in Élan and Crab Fat Magazine. Her Twitter is @yasminasale.