The black-eyed women's bodies decide they no longer like them. They punch the black-eyed women from the inside, tissue fists slamming against each separate spinal vertebrae until the pelvis vibrates from the beating. The black-eyed women feel as though everything within them ruptures. Whether shitting or fucking, the black-eyed women are always surprised by the suddenness of the pain. They do not have internal bleeding. Everything that bleeds within them rushes out onto the floor. They slip in the puddles and slide around the floor, streaks of red marking their progress around the kitchen and bathroom. Poor black-eyed women. They get down on their hands and knees and crawl. They lap at the trails. They watch their bellies swell with blood.


Oh, those poor black-eyed women. They have no wombs. Often, they sit naked in the living room with their hands deep inside their bodies, searching for missing reproduction organs. They feel only a cold space. They are dry inside. They powder their skin every hour on the hour. Sometimes, they have a mass dream of black-eyed children surrounding them. They feed these creatures from their barren breasts. The milk comes out black and stains the children's pale faces. It is like squid ink. The black-eyed women sit in abortion clinics, watching the women pace in and out of the back rooms. They hold the hands of every woman who signs herself out at the front desk and wipes the sleep from her face. In this way, they do not feel as out of place.


Black-eyed women live beneath the couches. They lick the dust bunnies off the floor and crunch small bugs between their teeth. When the homeowners nap, the black-eyed women peel their callouses from their feet and eat them. Then, the homeowners wake up and exclaim over how soft their heels are. The black-eyed women lie stretched out on their backs, their noses pressed against the couches' undersides. They breath in the metal springs and gnaw at the cushion bottoms. White fabric foam fills the black-eyed women's mouths. They chew and swallow savagely. They prefer when the television is not on.


The black-eyed women grow tired of their flesh. They find an old meat-grinder and spend several afternoons learning to work the crank. When their arms no longer hurt from the forceful rotations, they feed themselves to the grinder, one at a time, become a long stream of purplish black-eyed women ground chuck. Their hair gets lost in the meat. Eventually, the last woman must go. She constructs a machine that will turn the crank around and around while she goes into the grinder. The machine works three days and three nights until the sound attracts someone to it. The man is amazed by all the meat. It is already seasoned and beginning to cure. The pungent meat smell reminds him of a thick grilled steak. He brings the meat home and makes a lemon-flavored beef tartare. He gives this to his guests at his next dinner party. They are all vomiting and dying before the stroke of twelve.


At the end of the winter season, the black-eyed women, once frozen, melt. The puddles they leave are almost white in color with the exception of a small black ripple running along the surface of the water. Everyone walking through town avoid these puddles. The one person who gets too close is rewarded by the realization that the black-eyed puddles steal reflections. Yes, they later spit them back up, but that is always into an adjacent puddle of a clear black with a ripple of milk white flowing down the middle. The images are always left looking slightly distorted. No one ever steps into the puddles. Everyone is too afraid to learn what the black-eyed women might do.




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