​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

christie suyanto


The first time we met, your ghost followed me home. It sat beside me on the subway, smirking like mischief personified. It asked for shelter, so I took out one of my lungs and carved a hollow place for it.

Ever since that day I kept running out of breath. At night my chest burned, as if I had lit myself on fire. Maybe it was consuming the better halves of my inhalations. 

Every time you spent the night in other continents, your voice vibrated inside me as if I knew you in more ways than one. “Do you want to know him? Perhaps biblically?” your ghost asked cheekily. I sushed it. I burned in my bed as it lied naked against my diaphragm, taunting me. Its hot touches lingered around my ankles like a cat. The next day, there was a burn mark in the shape of your body imprinted on the bedsheet. The smoke alarm alerted the fire department, loud as a declaration of love.

The next time we saw each other, I returned your ghost to you in a cardboard box wrapped in newspapers. I threw in little foam marshmallows, just to be safe. I knew ghosts were fragile creatures.

“It followed me home,” I explained to you. You apologized and offered to get me coffee to make up for it.

That night you were the one who followed me home, your ghost tucked safely inside the box. On my living room sofa, you ripped out one of your lungs and put it in the empty space behind my chest. It fluttered like a bird as I adjusted it in front of the mirror. “Thank you. It’s a perfect fit,” I told you. There I was, standing, newly resurrected. Whole again, though patched up like a fabric.

Christie Suyanto is a student of English at the University of Groningen, Holland. She is also a writer, feminist, traveler and postcard-collector. Her works have appeared in Popshot Magazine, Cuckoo Quarterly, Crashtest and other publications.