Nuke Me Like One of Your French Girls

by Laura Lannan

As a girl I used to put my Barbie dolls in the microwave. I arranged Kelly and Kipper across the slats of the toaster to watch their yellow hair eclipse and their faces pustulate. I knelt on the linoleum to savor the spin of Barbie on the hot plate; her painted smile spreading like a spill. During the day I acted as arsonist; incendiary; pyro-pleased Queen of the smoldering. At night I dreamt of burning. Saw my flowered walls oxidize, mobile and quilt flake into fragments, my doll’s faces smelting into my own flesh, molding blood and skin; a continuous melt as I gathered my other puny possessions like fruits quickly rotting. The peeled cells of us becoming one in the smoke. A blizzard of flesh and plastic ideals. I learned that the way to be beautiful is to burn. I pressed the hot plate of a flat iron into my arm at sixteen, savoring how the porcelain snow of me thawed raw into rhubarb. Atomic blister, torn flare, bad-tempered crab that I was I ignited every invisible wound, I seared off every nightmare, I carved the rot into my arms like tattoos, cauterized every dimple every dent, seared a gap between my thighs, torched tits, acrid ass, broiled button nose. The only way to be loved is to light yourself on fire. Combust in front of the windows. You are eye candy for the whole town. You are a genuine eyesore.

About the Author 

When Laura is not shelving books at the public library, she is working towards her MFA degree at American University. Her work has been published in THAT Literary Review, Burnt Pine Magazine, and academic journals and newspapers. She lives in Washington, DC.