The Gift by Holly Zijderveld
I thought I had learnt to keep her quiet.
Tape at the mouth,
I couldn’t feel her scream as she
sat in my stomach.
I could feel her move though,
tossing in her sleep.
I knew she wasn’t really gone.
The lover leaving left everything on fire,
and it left her wide awake and screaming.
she was awake,
and I could feel her
Her first goal, my heart.
I tried to resist,
I promise I did.
I tried to learn love,
rip it apart and memorise it’s insides,
the way you can tear open a roll and count the bubbles.
Maybe I could put her to sleep with
love’s suffocating smoke,
but she ate that too, and
I was empty.
She was screeching.
Screeching for more.
I had no choice but to search elsewhere.
I looked everywhere,
scouring my brain to find the one.
The one who will give me love.
Who will put the monster at rest,
but I think everyone felt her too.
You see, she has such a pulling energy.
She turns me into a vacuum, sucking and
sucking until everything disappears.
I think everyone was scared.
They didn’t want a girl who cried dust.
One day, I laid on my bed in the dark.
I had my hands on my stomach and
I could feel her raging a war of anger and fury.
I let a scream escape from my mouth and
I let it fill the entire room and
turn it red.
I told her I could not feed her anymore.
I felt her toss more and more.
I told her I could not do this anymore.
I felt her scream more and more.
I told her I could not go chasing and chasing and crying and pulling and falling and heaving anymore.
I felt her eat what was left of me.
I felt her disappear.
She left something, though,
I could feel it.
I peeled open my tummy to find it there,
wrapped in shiny pink paper.
I slowly removed the tape.
I took off the wrapping, trying not to crease it more.
Inside, there was a box.
And inside the box,
I found the most valuable gift of all.
Holly Zijderveld (she/her) is a writer currently based in the UK. When she's not writing or running her own lit journal, you can find her watching too many films, playing Bach, and thinking the way the light hit that one very specific bit of water. You can find her @hollyzijderveld on Instagram and Twitter.