Tongues Tied – Eric Andrew Newman


When we cut out our tongues, we did it as a ritual. We did it by candlelight with a pair of barbeque tongs and garden shears. I did hers, then she did mine. We thought it would deepen our communication, not lessen it. We thought it would force us to focus more on each other’s eyes and body language to convey our innermost thoughts.
Afterwards, we stuffed our mouths with cotton balls and caught all the blood and saliva in empty beer bottles. We then tied our severed tongues in butcher paper and string, and placed them in ornamental wooden boxes. We put the boxes on the bookshelf in the bedroom next to her copy of The Noam Chomsky Reader.
At first, we gazed intently into each other’s eyes and got lost in the gleam between the refraction of light and the iris. We ran the tips of our fingers along the flushed flesh of each other’s naked bodies. We brushed our cracked lips against each other’s hollow cheeks in faint, ghostly kisses.
This didn’t last long. We soon grew tired of each other’s gaze, touch, kiss. Eventually, we just texted each other to get our point across.
“what’s up?”
“you gonna eat that half a sandwich in the fridge?”
“no, why?”
“just curious”





Eric Andrew Newman lives in Los Angeles with his partner and their dog. He works as an archivist for a nonprofit foundation by day, and as a writer and editor of flash fiction by night. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlas and Alice, Cleaver, Ellipsis Zine, Gargoyle, Necessary Fiction, Pithead Chapel, and Quarter After Eight.


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