Apply Heat

I can’t count the times I’ve breathed in the smell of burning flesh. Cried in the kitchen to the hissing slice of steam. Cooked little patches all over my wrist, tracing up towards the elbow.

I used to work as a baker. Tapped my arm up against the heated steel, flowered open a bleeding gap.

I know I tend to stare. Blankly down, at the proof of my strata. Here’s the layer of fat, here’s the rest that’s pink. Here’s the angry red.

When you get a burn you’re supposed to run it under cold water for ten minutes, immediately. We call this blanching.

I stand in another kitchen as the buzzing quiets down to my partner asking if I’m okay. His face is white (we call this blanching).

How do I tell him I’ve misplaced body? That these angry reds and pinks belong to someone else.

That I would know if I’d burned myself because it would hurt.

About the author
Eliana Gray resides in Ōtepoti. Their style is somewhat elliptical, sometimes confronting, always filtering towards the cracks. Their work can be found in Bones, Critic, Electric Cereal and their two chapbooks which can be found, along with a lot of pictures of the author, on their Instagram (@foxfoxxfox).