Alone.I’ve been silent all day, so much so that my voice has turned to an eggshell which balances on my tongue.
At 7:30 I crouched on the stairs outside my English portable and watched the day start. For five minutes, I was alone, clutching fists of my shirt and stretching the fabric tight over myself. There were clouds and sky and geese and myself. Alone.
I have to be fast because it’s the only kind of strong a girl of my size can be.
I’m a tall girl, but a small one. One that no one sees. One that doesn’t want to go to prom because the fabric of her dress would fall down from her shoulders or away from her chest. And she’d be dwarfed.
I’m small. Lost-small and small-alone.
The art class hates me because of how much butcher paper I have to tear from the rolls. I’d feel bad about that, except the sound’s soft-gray with ripped red edges. Interesting, if not beautiful.
I choose the lime green paper. No one ever wants lime green.
I have hypokalemiaI have hypokalemia.
Hypokalemia means that I don’t have as much potassium as I ought to in my blood.
Hypokalemia isn’t something that you typically “have, it’s something you “are”. Like you “are” anemic. You have low iron. Anemic.
You “are” hypokalemic.
Don’t ask me why it’s that way. I don’t know anyone else with hypokalemia. I just know what other people, who do know, see fit to tell me.
I’m not hypokalemic like you’re supposed to be hypokalemic. I have it and it’s here to stay. Because a medication I take caused it. A medication I need. A medication I will be taking for a long time.
Hence, I “have” hypokalemia. It’s here to stay. I “will be” hypokalemic for a long time. I will die hypokalemic.
Perhaps more accurately, hypokalemia “has” me.
Hypokalemia is like epilepsy’s adopted sister that no one knows about. I have seizures because I
Do you know the taste of the universe?One day, when you’re five years old and made out of fractured sunlight and mirror shards, you sit down on the bench of the MAX train. You’re dressed in your winter coat and boots that are too big and one of your parents has pulled your hat too close over your ears.
You’re sitting next to your mother, and on the other side is a man that smells like loneliness, something that you’ll later know as cigarettes and alcohol and homelessness. He’s crying quietly into the top of his jacket and you’re scared to look because you’ve never seen an adult cry.
The train ride goes on for five minutes, which is a long time to you, and eventually you sneak a look at the crying man who smells like Portland and loneliness, and he sees you. He leans down until you can see the red lines in his eyes and he whispers to you.
“Do you know the taste of the universe?”
And you look up at him with your little-girl eyes and shake your head because you can’t
FemininityI’m a girl.
When I was young, I was taught being a girl had something to do with whether you sat down or stood up when your bladder was full and which of the bathrooms you went into when you were at a store. In kindergarten I was informed that it had something to do with the “parts” you had, after a classmate pulled down his pants during Show and Tell to show us his favorite underwear, and before the teacher could grab him managed to explain that girls couldn’t wear it because they didn’t have the right parts. And when I was six, someone in the third grade (two years older and still confused) told me that girls have long hair and boys don’t and that’s the difference.
As a first grader, this was enough for me. I was a girl, my brother was a boy, and according to Melina, all the boys in my class had cooties, which were like germs but only boys could get them. I didn’t buy it.
In third grade, I met a boy who had long hair and one of the girl
DualityShe takes her by the elbow
and guides her with bridge-armed
silence, hissing instructions
through rapidly condensing breath.
for if She doesn’t remember her,
who will? who will remember that
she can’t drink milk,
can’t eat that,
shouldn’t do this?
and when she puts Her
to bed at night, She tells her
She tells her terrible things
she takes Her by the hand
and makes Her look in the water.
tells Her to breath,
tells Her to cry.
but She won’t do it,
so she has to cry for Her.
She tells her that they must
work all the time or else what
will happen to Them?
but she’s the one
that cries when They
are all alone.
They stand in front of the mirror
and look at the girl reflected.
and She thinks the girl
She is critical, forgiving
in measured intervals.
but she looks at the girl,
and just tells the girl
but the girl can’t smile,
because They have
of her soul.
(Un)InformedSomeone once told me that being smart is stupid.
Granted, it was said somewhere between three and four second after the speaker punched me in the eye, leaving me doubled over in some back, rusty corner of the play structure.
I suppose it was that made the memory stick. The oxymoron and the smell of rusty metal and the way I could still see the impact under my rapidly swelling eyelid.
I’d have that black eye for four days.
I’ve had that memory for nine years.
I’ve seen enough pictures of starving people in Africa that on days I hurt too much to eat I feel a guilt that matches in intensity the way my stomach rages against the concave surface of my ribs.
I’m a pescetarian and a person of gastrointestinal disfunction, but it’s not that that makes me cringe when my grandmother tries to make me eat seconds.
It’s the guilt of the extra food being served.
It’s the knowledge.
I have often considered that people might like me more if I was not as
SadnessI’ve been sad for about two weeks.
When I say I’m sad, please know that it does not mean I am in absence of happiness. There is happiness here. It just has a very short half-life.
The sadness lives in a little tiny circle that is under my skin. It’s like a bruise. Right now it’s sitting off on my right side between my seventh and eight rib.
I’ve been sad for about two weeks.
That’s long enough to die of dehydration four times over.
The sadness comes and goes, and the happiness comes and goes, and there’s this emptiness that sits underneath it.
People aren’t talking to me too much because of how stressed we all are. Finals. But when they do talk to me, their words ping off like stones on a frozen lake.
How are you?
Ping, ping, ping.
I have the scrape the words out of the back of my throat and my chest because they’re stuck.
Words like “I’m fine” are all glued up with words like “My dog just had chemo
Shadow DaughterI first noticed the girl in History.
Craning my neck to get a better look at the inaccurate clock hanging slightly crooked on the wall behind me, I found myself looking at a girl that had not been in the class when attendance was called.
She was standing with her back and palms of her hands against the wall, looking at my teacher with rapt attention. She was incredibly thin and her lips looked horribly dry. She didn't have a belt on, but when I looked closely I could see that two of her belt loops on her jeans were tied together and created a small bulge beneath her black shirt. It made them hang strangely, the zipper pulled too far to the right.
I was sure she had came on the request of another teacher, and I had failed to notice her come in. Unusual, sure, but not unheard of.
I forgot about her and began to focus on the lesson again, trying to push her small, sad smile out of my head.
I noticed her again when I was walking to my Math class nearly a week later. She stuck out, the