The Matter of Embraces
By Denzel Scott
A sharp knife cuts through purplish, crimson meat along a wooden slab. Coffee black hands, with soft little hairs on their knuckles, touch the deep colored matter hesitantly, as if never felt before. The right hand’s index finger presses softly on the red tissue, which bends, but with a little bounce as it bleeds.
Even so irrevocably opened, eviscerated and made dazzling, the flesh does not cry out. There is only silence to pair with curiosity and appetite. There is only silence that drenches the blade with gooey red. There is only silence offered from the victim.
The skin yielded with very little tension, as if it were frail, yellowed wallpaper wound a great distance away from its appropriate place. It was so wonderfully thin upon the silver edge of the knife, and yet still hefty enough to enjoy the sensation of the blade falling through it. Tearing into the red inner parts was a confession, from the knife to God’s ears. Maybe the deity would enjoy the unmaking of such youthful flesh. God must be a sadist to always watch the world and everything in it break.
The black hands dismembered the beautiful mass. The hands were not new to this game of splitting things open. Many have sacrificed themselves under the well-loved knife, but none as exotic as this majestic Middle Eastern jewel.
The scent that lingered in the air only added to the excitement of eviscerating the once living thing. Red ran all over the nimble fingers and down the thin wrist. The mutilation was finished. The thrill of the moment was all, but spent. Now came the platting.
Fresh fig served with mascarpone, honey, rosemary and toasted slivered almonds. Its sweetness lingers, but so long on the tongue until it’s gone, all gone.
To Bleed, to Dream, to Be
Mama saw me take the clean razor she just put in the untidy medicine cabinet in the downstairs bathroom. She saw me slip it between my ring and middle finger and I knew she saw me and I didn’t care. I ran up the hard stairs and quietly closed my room door. I should’ve locked her ass out.
“Frankie, you hungry” called Mama, like a church song.
“No mama, not right now.”
“It’s getting late, you sure you don’t want to eat?”
“No mama, I’m still full from that left over low country boil I ate for lunch. I’ll fix my own plate later.”
Mama seemed like she was done. I couldn’t hear her footsteps no more. I pulled down my jeans and saw the scars I had left from before. I needed a new one. I had to tell the boy who called me ugly today that I was not, but I was afraid. I had to tell him who I was before.
Once I was gorgeous before a stranger took everything from me last summer. He took me away with his thing buried rough inside of me and I stayed an empty cocoon, rather than the butterfly I was becoming within.
The boy wasn’t there in my room, and I could not imagine him there before me to hurt him like he hurt me. The razor would be the boy I loved who shamed me. My thigh would be my words.
He would wound no one anymore and my words would split open as a new way to dream. But before I could feel new and open and red with my own blood, mama opened the door. Down were my jeans so that she could see all the new ways the world taught me to dream.
Denzel Xavier Scott earned his BA in English from the University of Chicago and received his Writing MFA at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in his hometown of Savannah, GA. His works appear in various literary magazines: Rattle, Empty Mirror, Spillway, decomP, both Euphony Journal and Blacklight Magazine of the University of Chicago, Pegasus Literary Magazine of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Bombay Gin literary magazine of Naropa University, the Missing Slate literary magazine, Apeiron Review, The Gambler Mag, SLAB Magazine, Linden Avenue, 3Elements Review, Cortland Review, and the Louisville Review.