The new one sits wet and heavy in my hand— the tongue of a dog drooping on a hot day. I turn it over to inspect the back, look for black spots in the crevices— a basket of apples I pour onto the grass. I don’t trust them to be fresh: All I know are the things people have told me. So I let my eyes linger on the darkening growths, dig my fingers into the mush until a sweetness lingers on my hand for days— honey rust in iron gelatin, a dying organ smells like fruit. Soon, the apples will turn to slush beneath the tree, And a stray will stop its circling, drop its dead bird on the winter grass, come to lap up the sweet fermentation, and grow drunk on my doubts. I haven't trained it not to. I take the liver and slide it thin between two coverslips before easing it under the microscope. It is red and shiny and in the light, I can see veins running under its surface, circulating in blue—this pulsing, red tongue. If I press my eye into the ocular lens, let the yellow light flood into my cornea, squinting in the half-sight, I see the soft bloom of scar tissue and stand there crookedly until I am sure there is nothing healthy left.
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