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three ways he calls you baby

Emily Quast

1. You wrote down a love poem with a ballpoint pen on the hotel stationary but you don’t have anyone to read it to. You said there’s a hairbreadth of space between our blood and the tarmac of our flesh and the flesh says I’ve never wanted anything to do with it and the blood says I’ve always been yours, baby. The carpet underfoot has nothing to add and the sheets are still asleep. The two clocks on the opposite walls are half a second out of sync and neither of them tell the right time. If you wanted it all to make sense, you should have asked somebody else.

2. The man with his hands around your throat doesn’t love you but he still gives himself a home inside of you, makes a mess of things, coffee stains and cigarette burns in your fleshy bits. You wanted something else but no one told you how to ask for it and now you’re standing at the doorway to yourself, picking at the peeling paint. Baby, he says, you’ve really got to do some cleaning up around here.

3. He touches you and his hand passes right through your body. He kisses you and he bites down into sinew. He’d eat you alive if he thought you were worth tasting but his teeth are already rotten and you’re no longer made of sugar. What do you want? If you tell him it’s the sky he’ll bury you alive, so you tell him it’s love, that it’s all you’ve ever asked for—and still he fills your mouth with dirt, he plants roses between your teeth, he lets roots snake behind your ribcage. Baby, keep talking like that and no one will ever fuck you again.


Emily Quast is a 25-year-old accidental cat mom and pickled food enthusiast based out of Philadelphia. When the stars align just right, she's also a writer. Shoot her a follow on Instagram @outquast for pictures of the aforementioned cats. Or the pickles. Sometimes the writing too.

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