GLASS by K.B. Carle

GLASS by K.B. Carle

I don’t remember the before.

I’m not really sure I want to.

If I went searching for a lost past somewhere in the recesses of a brain that dissolved when I died, would it really belong to me once found? I’m no longer the person I was. In fact, I’m not even a person anymore. Back then, I assume, I had skin, a tongue, a nose. A voice a family might recognize, if I had a family. Fingernails I could paint, or chew when nervous. Eat or spit out of the side of my mouth.

People can be gross or clean. Can inhale, exhale, sigh, hold their breath until their faces changes color. People can roll their eyes, make their tongues look like clovers, pluck their eyebrows, and lick their lips.

No one tells you about the things you lose.

Only you’re dead and here’s what’s left from the before.

I keep my before items in a black pouch Anubis lent me. I didn’t plan on keeping the pouch, but since he never asked for me to return it, I guess it’s mine. He’s good like that. Inside are shards of various sizes that don’t fit together. I used to try to make these pieces make sense, but every time something was missing. Each shard has a unique sequence of blood droplets that sometimes trails over jagged edges. Alone, I use them to perform the Rorschach test. Maybe my memories are connected to the psychological. Sometimes, I see the butterfly humans claim to notice when staring at ink on paper. Mine is red with wings expanding until the glass ends and the wings break at the tips. Sometimes, during the seconds when no one is dying, I see blades of grass tied in knots. They remind me of war, of people tangled amongst themselves over food, safety, the final shot.

Most of the time I see dots.

No one tells you about the things you miss.

Then, there’s the glass eye. I like to place it in my right socket and see how long I can balance it. I pretend I can see the deserts of Egypt where Anubis and his family lives—haunts—I don’t really know what Anubis does in his spare time. I think I’d enjoy observing what the Egyptian god of mummification and the afterlife does in his spare time. It’s not that Reapers can’t see, we can, but it always feels nice to be able to look at something rather than just see it. I think it does anyway. I can’t remember the last time I had eyes, other than this one. When my glass eye falls, I slip my hand between my ribs and catch it. It’s a skill I’m not proud of. A constant reminder that I’m literally empty inside and that my body may not have an inside because now there are no walls, just bones and space.

I’m now a being made up of empty spaces.

No one tells you about being alone.

The iris of my glass eye is gray, which used to be disappointing but now this is something I accept. I mean, it would be better if my glass eye contained some kind of color. Blue is my favorite but at least it’s not black like everything else in death. Its glass edges are always smooth compared to the bits of bone that make up my skeletal fingers and I like the sound of it rolling along my arm, the feeling of something looking at me while balancing on bone.

If Reapers had parties, I would show the others a trick. How I can cock my head back at just the right angle and make my glass eye disappear from my right socket. The disappearance would allow the Reapers to remember swallowing, hunger, and chewing. The weight of a stomach. How spit can form rivers collecting on their tongues and drift just below their uvulas. Of course, I’d make my eye reappear, not in the socket, but clenched between my teeth. If Reapers threw parties, they would applaud my creativity, my imagination, notice how the glass eye never blinks or shatters.

But, since they don’t, I keep my trick to myself.

No one tells you what was left behind.

I like to think the eye is mine, even in the before time. That I had gray eyes—or eye—and crafted stained glass windows that people still work hard to preserve. Maybe my creations capture the gazes of many with different colored eyes because they notice the specks of my blood embedded in the clear spaces of my glass workings.

Maybe I bled butterflies.

No one tells you about the before. Only that you died. That you were chosen to be a Reaper.

And they never tell you why.

K.B. Carle lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned her MFA from Spalding University’s Low-Residency program in Kentucky. Her stories have appeared in Homology Lit.Black Warrior ReviewCHEAP POPJellyfish Review, and elsewhere. She can be found online here or on Twitter @kbcarle.

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