ten thousand tiny spots


By Sheila Armstrong.

In the city, there are ten thousand thousand mouths. But a mouth is a terrible thing. A gash across the skin; a slit that has been widened and then healed so that two lumps of scar tissue trace the wound on either side. And inside, inside some instinct has caused lumps of calcium and carbon and bone to protrude out, sprouting in some awful facsimile of symmetry; each lump pointing upward, anchored with a cruel hook below the jaw, their surfaces blunted and ground down into flat planes that crush and grind. And the tongue — that flopping, shape-shifting, pocked muscle — oh, the tongue. And surrounding it all is a liquid; not the primordial liquid of the sea, or some fresh mountain spring, but a glooping, filmy lubricant that ebbs and flows like some unholy tide; gushing in the present of an enticing aroma, and fleeing in time of stress. A mouth is a terrible thing. And the things that come out of a mouth — things that are wrenched from a slit in the very self, puked upwards and rolled around those awful teeth and bulbous lips — have no worth, can have no worth when they come from that awful place.

It’s the pauses in between that matter.


[This is a short extract, the full article is available to read in Issue Three]

Sheila Armstrong grew up in the west of Ireland and now lives in Dublin. She has been shortlisted for several awards and has been published in various journals. She works as a freelance editor and is currently writing her first collection of short stories.