Talleen Hacikyan

MACY, STILL IN A PINK NIGHTY, vacuums her apartment to the blaring gospel beat of “Down Here I’ve done My Best.” She wipes windows with blueberry-scented Windex. Polishes furniture with hazelnut oil. Plugs in a lavender air freshener.

Macy takes off her legs and lays them on the kitchen floor. Sprays them with Hawaiian-ginger shaving mousse, slides a metal razor ankle to knee. Rubs them with rose water.

She folds the legs in half and zips them into the interior side pockets of a silver hard-shell suitcase, which lies at the foot of the fridge.

Takes off her head, swaddles it with long black hair. Macy tucks it in a corner of the valise to maximize packing capacity.

Buckles her bare torso into the main cavity of the suitcase with crisscross straps that intersect between her breasts. Lowers the vaulted cover over her. Folds her arms on her heart like a loved one.

Macy travels smoothly over suspension wheels. Stows away in a bag of rice on an Indonesian cargo vessel. Sleeps with foreign lovers, on heirloom sheets in a linen closet in Crete; in a lawnmower bag full of aromatic grass in a tool shed in Vermont. She meditates upside down in a bed folded into a wall unit, concealed behind shelves of blown-glass vases, in a store window in Copenhagen.

Macy has always craved the security of tight spaces. When she was an infant she slept in the bottom drawer of her mother’s dresser, the one full of flannel nightgowns.

Her therapist thinks she is off her rocker but says she is compensating for lack of love.

Seven days after packing herself Macy comes out of the suitcase. Life is impeccable, immaculate, so worth living. It smells like paradise.