This article examines the theme of self-cannibalism in Virgilio Piñera’s story “La carne” as an ethical problem and an aesthetic proposal. Written in the early 1940s, a time when meat shortages were common in Havana, the story imagines the perils and pleasures of eating one’s own flesh. Critics have so far interpreted the story either as a piece of social critique or as a tribute to human endurance. Building on the current literature, this article proposes reading “La carne” as part of a literary aesthetics Piñera develops in his collection Cuentos fríos. Drawing on Jacques Derrida’s and Judith Butler’s ethics of alterity, I first examine self-cannibalism as a desire for autonomy that eventually severs all social ties. Through Georges Bataille’s writings on “non-productive expenditure,” I then look at how the pleasure of eating one’s own flesh complicates the ethical dimension of the story. I argue that, for Piñera, literature is self-cannibalism: an auto-affection that gratifies without glossing over absence, understood both as material lack and as the vacuity of representation. This analysis allows me to situate Piñera’s regime(n) of representation within Cuban letters, specifically vis-à-vis the neo-baroque aesthetics José Lezama Lima lays out in La expresión americana.