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More Than I Can Chew

By Joey Hedger

You can bite off your finger as easily as you could bite through a carrot, someone told me once, a parent or an aunt or an uncle or a cousin—I do not remember—except that your brain will refuse to let you, they said; psychologically, you literally could not bite down hard enough to do it, because your subconsciousness has this little safety switch that knows you better than you do, that understands your brain and urges and guards you from it; but that must be wrong, because I now really really want to do it, to bite off my fingers, and I can feel this urge gnawing at me, causing me often to stare down, lick my lips, imagine they are carrots, imagine my whole arm is a carrot, and my chest and torso and legs, too, and it all goes orange, and there I am, devouring my own body, one bite at a time like Saturn devouring his son, his carrot—orange teeth, orange stains across my chin, peels scattered around me: If only my brain could stop me from this.

Joey Hedger is author of Deliver Thy Pigs (Malarkey Books, forthcoming) and In the Line of a Hurricane, We Wait (Red Bird Chapbooks); you can find him at


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