I am starving. I am empty and lean, caving in around the spaces between my ribs. I feel brittle and dry, like weight of any kind might grind me to dust.

I try not to need. To busy my limbs with other tasks so they don’t have time to remember what they lack. They walk and they build. The clean and they dirty. They fold tightly around themselves, a tiny ecosystem I hold in my bones. I do not feed them.

I feel the space. Dark and deep and still. It howls with emptiness and I remind myself it has to die. I do not feed it.

I say the words over and over, a prayer, an enchantment I cast over myself until it takes hold in my skin. The words are the only thing I eat. They are sand, not water and they nourish nothing on their way down. I swallow and swallow and swallow anyway. I feed it the dust I hope it returns to.

Leave, I tell the hunger. It eyes me wearily, all stubborn and resolute. It hopes to outlast me, to break me. If I don’t feed it, it will die and I’ll never be hungry again.

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