you'll know that you've died when your mother tells you she found your baby teeth in her old jewelry box— the one that unfolds into itself like peeling skin, where she kept the turquoise ring you used to try on when no one was home. you'll realize what it smells like to decay, to not belong to yourself any longer, to let the nerve endings hang loose and see the final fingernail clippings you'll ever make scattered on the pearl floor, in the rug with the paisley print, in the corners and grout of the tile. you'll have to apologize for how poorly you cleaned up after yourself, letting your dead skin turn to dust on the tabletop. how is anyone supposed to eat here?
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