So I pulled you from my chest and I buried you still beating, deep in the blackened earth. Weak with hunger and trembling, my sun-parched lips cracked and bled as my fingers, drenched with blood, covered you in the cold, damp deep. I let no tears fall—besides, there were none. Long ago they were spent, wasted on nothings and no ones. The only part of me with room enough for you was aching and dying alone smothered in the earth.
You were not alone, though, not really. We made a graveyard of ourselves and cast our own bleeding bits into it. We did not speak of the graveyard, but it called us by name and we knew to bury there, and we knew what stones to overstep and which pieces belonged to whom. We did all of the burying ourselves. We did not prepare, and it was always quick and under the cover of night, while our souls slumbered, before we lost our nerve.
We let the earth tear our flesh and chew our sinew as offerings for accepting our endless trail of ruined burden.
Tattered remnants of muscle survive, though. Like a chord around our necks that tightens now and again as what we cast away breathes a slow staggering breath and demands reckoning. When they come alive we wrest power again away from them, each time slower to move. We beat them back until they lie stone still. They are not dead, they simply wait until our guards are down and we think enough time has passed and perhaps they are truly void and then they lurch and pull us back again.
Or else we are carrion or carrion birds, rooting out the flesh of our own unmaking, a grotesque dance of being and unbeing.
How I have suffered long, keeping you from me, and me together without you.
To give you over—to be free of you—I have bound myself. Hollow and unmade I wander the earth as a ruined thing, blood dripping slow in my wake.
I won the battle, but you have won the war. I will stagger to you eventually, my white flag clutched to me in sad surrender. I will join us again, stuff you back into me and we will drown together, broken and bleeding, in the deep.