Munchausen

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By Sydney Hartle

Before this, I’m lonely.

She radiates heat. She’s half asleep, but I part her cracked lips with mine. Her breath is caustic, mouth like stale crackers. I cool her neck with a needful touch, caressing swollen lymph nodes.

“Sara, what’re you doing?” She’s bleary-eyed.

It’s my sister in our parents’ bed. They take good care of her.

I wrap her in my spider limbs. “It’s the fever,” I say. “You’re hallucinating.”

I brush the hair from her sweaty forehead and her body relaxes. I savor the lingering taste of her saliva. It tastes like the promise of love.

 

____

Sydney Hartle is a Michigan girl and recent college grad who peaked at age 6 when she met her celebrity crush, General Shang from Mulan, at Disneyland.

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