A Hot Knife Which Reveals a Disclosure Concerning Survival – Sam Heaps

When the first responder finally sleeps with a woman after his divorce, he will smell the woman’s breath, fetid so late in the night, think of Diana, and call out God Save the Queen as he reaches climax. 

The scent he catches is like both the wound, and the soured stitching.

The body after sex in the back of the car and the drinking so to the first responder it is cum down her thighs and a little burnt flesh and vodka or gin, panic and blood in close quarters.  

When she had always been so well groomed. 

This is the smell you describe to me, running your fingers along my nineteen year old calves, the night you found your mother on the bathroom floor. Red iron along the white of the inner arms. Broken glass.

I think of Diana’s face at nineteen. The cut of her limbs like a male gaze went slashing through her. 

In high-school, half erect on a hard table a sheet was draped over my waist. A woman, decked in crystals, slipped a clear plastic tube into my anus. A tube like you might use to siphon gas. It was a holy thing, the hot water scouring this most filthy crevice. The woman placed her hand on my stomach. 

“Wouldn’t it be so nice to feel clean?” 

Her purging in the palace. 

The sweet small joy of an enema while in inpatient treatment for anorexia. Stuffed with rolls and meats and carefully measured butter, the calories a transformative invader. 

After breakfast this morning you kiss me, and there is oil and salt on your lips. In the bedroom you say I am your home and I tense as you run out between my legs. 

Oprah Winfrey describing the crusted ridges of the intestines.

Oprah Winfrey querying the son. The blind mimicry of the mother.

Oprah Winfrey on the television, the water boiling for more ramen. More eggs. 

Charles over the corpse, remembering the virgin pussy at nineteen, a whisper for Camilla and an insertion. 

Why this desire to be clean, this obsession with sterility, when it also means to be alone? 

My orifices, my face, at nineteen, enraptured by your movements in front of a classroom. My cheek pressed against a hotel mattress sweating beads along the back of my neck as you pulled off your shirt and bound me with it, the jersey ripping in a long seam. 

Diana, thinking on her good years, “… those were not for me.”

After breakfast my body flushes red at the overwhelming sensation of, simply, your hand on my thigh. You are so gentle I might die but instead cum relentlessly like some kind of wounded monster, thrusting over and over. 

When I am like this you make a mistake and suddenly it is your wife you are looking for, your mouth and nose burrowing and searching for a whiff of someone else. And then again you push me, unwilling, across the edge.

Did he touch her like this? Did Charles pull apart Diana’s too thin thighs and say you are so beautiful. And, when she collapsed into allowing herself to believe this, trusting this from him, did he then say, again, Camilla? 

The wife like marble. I brush against her arm on the street and she is cold to the touch. Aseptic.

Is that what they found when they cut her open? The rotted memory of a more beloved face? The sound of the naming of that face? The overgrowth of the more graceful vowels of the word?

What kind of stink did it make, this tumor.