The little lungs in my mouth 

have grown again today, swollen like overripe fruit that’s starting to ferment in the sun. If I adjust the angle of the light peering into the small cave behind my front teeth, sometimes they look like brains instead. I enjoy checking on them every day, watching how they bob and quiver with every breath and gulp and vowel from my hot potato voice. I like seeing my uvula wiggle like it’s scared it’s going to be squashed between them soon. 

I stare because I know I’m looking at the gateway to something you’re not supposed to see: your own insides. I wonder if the soft tubes in my throat are the same hue of red with a glistening film of blood orange. I picture my real full-sized lungs, inflating in my chest like a set of old bagpipes, making a crackling noise that bubbles up to my collarbones when I lie down. I think about the tubes splitting off again to other parts of my body, sending oxygen and nutrients across the sprawling planes and delicate ecosystems of organs and flesh. An alien landscape that my brain must know my eyes could never handle.

When the pain is especially bad, I imagine the little lungs being plucked from my mouth, root and stem, and asking the surgeon if I can take them home. While I recovered, alternating between eating toast and ice cream, I’d pickle the little lungs and display them in a jar on my mantelpiece. They’d glow in the light from the fire on winter nights. They’d be my own medical oddity, a museum curiosity for visitors to find horror and delight in. Friends and family members would call me strange but soon they’d take the jar in their own hands and hold it up by the window, examining it from every angle, and I’d laugh while I waited for the kettle to boil. As I’d sip my tea, which would go down much too easily, I’d look at them proudly: those little lungs that once lived in my mouth.

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By Sophie Campbell

Sophie Campbell is a fiction writer and holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Strathclyde. She enjoys writing stories about ordinary people and, occasionally, the supernatural. Sophie has had short stories published with Speculative Books, Razur Cuts, The Instant Noodle Literary Review, Aloe Magazine and others. She is currently working on drafting a novel. Sophie is also interested in counter culture, witchcraft and Scottish folk tales.

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