“After the relationship there is the Dissection” by Anita Goveas

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  1. The Abdomen

The scar itself is not the issue. Medicine is a wonder, this is not a list of the joys a surgeon’s knife can bring.

But to revel in it, to take pride in it, to continue to wear bikinis. What can be done with someone without a proper sense of shame?

2. The Eyebrows

In themselves, an important part of a specimen toolkit. Not as essential as eyelashes, more significant than eyes (those can be easily changed).

But to leave them, to allow them to creep across the face unchecked, to have no boundaries. That suggests a laziness that can only bode ill.

3. The Fingernails

Properly arranged, a fingernail is an asset. They can match or contrast, flatter or highlight. They can be waved in a face to draw attention, in a gentle way.

But to ignore them completely, to be content in their nakedness, to leave traces of pottery clay underneath is a waste of a natural resource. Who knows where that carelessness could lead?

4. The Bottom

Often celebrated in literature as demonstrated by its innumerable pet names. Apple, feeder, rock. Base Unit. Ranging in size from comfortably numb to cushion-y soft. If it’s round and firm, and can be compared to some kind of fruit, it can even take the lead.

But to wear outfits without considering its construction, to never think of its impact, to treat it as a body part implies a lack of organisation.

5. The Brain

Too much in it.



Anita Goveas is British-Asian, based in London, and fueled by strong coffee and paneer jalfrezi. She was first published in the 2016 London Short Story Prize anthology, most recently in Noble/Gas Qrtly, Flashback Fiction, Mojave Heart Review, The Brown Orient and formercactus.

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