Cannibal Love

Dearest You,

I need to peel off my flesh. Just a small slit on the wrist to get things started, then slice it back like puckered chicken skin with a paring knife and fry it in a pan.

I would eat myself so I can feel full, not like this anymore.

It’s not your fault, it’s mine. I had quit living. You reminded me that I should again. Now my leg is bouncing under my desk and my attention goes to anything shiny. Or you. 

Must get through this day and the next one and the next. A countdown to more counting. I try to flatten it out, figure out how to sleep with arms outstretched in the middle of my bed, without needles poking my flesh reminding me that you’re never going away, were never here in the first place.

Your seed is rooted in me. Your branches are twisting up my arms, winding down my legs, wrapping around all the things that make a woman. They’ve bloomed lush fantasies that might turn and drop to a rotting pile at my feet.

I am stronger now. Grown. Enough to see how it all went wrong before, to know that you eating away my insides is better than the iced-over numb I’d become. 

You will need to be the one who walks away. I can’t. Not again from this cannibal love.

Unless my words feel like your words, too. Then crawl inside me and build us a home. I will keep you safe and warm and your branches will strengthen my constitution as we spin through the world. Together. 

And I will be able to breathe again. 



-Caitlin McGillicuddy


Caitlin McGillicuddy lives and writes outside of Boston. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Gravel, the Black Fox Literary Magazine and Bitchin Kitsch. She’s a writer in residence at L'ATELIER WRITERS and is at work on her first novel which will be published by someone awesome. During the day she works as the Executive Director of a children’s museum while raising two fierce daughters with her husband. Find her on Twitter @CaitlinMcGill or at