You approach me; dressed as the insult I gave you last. Your spine is tug, twisted and exposed, dangling between your shoulder blades. You stand with a wide stance: headless, with your forehead shoved up your ass. As you walk, your spinal cord clicks like the keys in my pocket. Your heart is rolling on the ground, leaving trails of blood, pulsing between each somersault. There’s blood on your shoe.

“Treat yourself the way you treated me,” I told you.

You kick your heart out of the way; scuff your heel in the blood. Your thighs cover your eyes, but your lips quiver between your knees. You apologize and pull your spine over your shoulders, twist the vertebrae around my finger. It feels like string. You want me to toss you like a fishing line, but fear I won’t retract you like a yo-yo.

“That’s not my problem.” I slip your spine off my finger. It slips back down your shoulder: a snake returning to its basket.

I don’t believe in ending things on a good note.

You retrieve your head, shove your hand up the flaps of your neck and move your mouth like a puppet. Your eyes roll and jitter in their sockets like bingo balls. You’re useless when you come up for air. Hand goes limp, your head starts slipping down and falls to the ground.

“Fucking talk to me!” I pull out your spine like a roll of tickets.

You sink to the floor. The vertebra clicks between your blades. On the ground, you lay with your legs open. I grab your head and shove it back up.

Words come back to mind. Your apology repeats. Slipping your spine back into place, you crawl towards me, begging for forgiveness.

I walk away and tell you you’re better off the way I left you.

“Spineless. Head up your ass.”

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