She takes six baths per day and listens to the radio while she soaks. He forgets sometimes that he has to help. It is easy now for him to get lost in television, where all the women still walk upright on long lean limbs that support upper halves with ease. Long lean limbs that do what limbs should. Lean limbs that flinch and tense and spread.

She howls and bangs a fist against the side of the bathtub. She crawls like a stone with her arms to the corner of the bathroom where linoleum meets carpet. She cries out and brushes her cheeks, chin, palms and tongue tip against the soft and cool places her feet used to go. She explores the wet fibers and dirt tucked into the crevice there, loose but still bound. The dirt in some spots adhesive. He likes the strain in her voice, her need makes him hard. Reminds him of when she could still feel below the waist, before she was numb to thumb tacks jammed into her heels and long jagged razor traces of flesh folds along her inner thighs and calves. 

When she sleeps, he conducts experiments.           

When she sleeps he watches, waits for spasms. He pinches until blue and punches until tired when her shakes come. She wakes from the sound of his breathing, not the dull thuds of fist against dead nerves and meat. 

He asks if he can and she lets. 

Juanita Walton
Charlotte Roche