“Private Cooking” by Natsumi Tanaka


They say you should disinfect your wounds with alcohol. So I pour beer on my now fleshless arm. While raising a hissing froth, the brown liquid runs down my bone. As my arm no longer has nerves, it doesn’t feel cold, nor do I feel any pain. I just watch the flowing liquid.

With a sterilized knife, I scrape off all remaining meat, which I will eat later. I don’t know, though, if I can taste it with my throat that is now nothing but bones. But it’s wasteful to throw it away.

I’m enthralled by the beautiful white bone that has become exposed. Yes, I have always wanted to see this. Having shed all unnecessary flesh, I’m just bare, without any pretense.

I stroke the bone with my tongue I have cut off. I think I feel a stinging sweetness through the already severed tongue.

(Translated by Toshiya Kamei)

Natsumi Tanaka is a writer living in Kyoto, Japan. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous journals such as Anima Solaris, Kotori no kyuden, Outline, and Tanpen. She is the author of the short story collection “Yumemiru ningyo no okoku” (2017).