Sierra Hallmen

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The Next Room: Life After a Suicide Attempt

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photo by Betsy Boyd

University of Baltimore MFA student Sierra Hallmen recounts her young love, lust, and suicide attempt, and what they taught her.

I have a thing for bodies. I love the way they look, what they wear, how they talk to me and to each other. I need to know what skin does when I can’t see it. I have a thing for the way bodies are when they’re doing body things, like legs crouching over public toilets or feet tiptoe jumping into skin-tight jeans. I love the shape of thighs, fatty handles, jaw bones, crow’s feet. Each a postage stamp of things done, undone or yet to be done. Each a howl in the dark night saying, touch me, I’m warm. Ask me about my body and I’ll tell you its story: the itches, the dry spots, the wet ones, the love, the languid slip between creases into folds or curves or bone jags, the rift between where my body ends and another begins, the unending parting.