excerpts from a window peering through a life

In what year did they begin fire drills? Heads and knees tucked to chest to prep for bombs. I am not united in this front of skin and veins. I think back to those years where we were forced out of class due to called-in bomb threat or preparation for an inferno of flames to melt away the school. Why don’t families have drills like this? Or bodies? Before the cancer or depression or heart attack or mini-stroke, how about a drill?

Andy Flemming throws a three-piece dissected bee at me in science class. I am twelve. He calls me a screen door and I watch the severed insect slide down my paved chest. My three best friends at the time have elevated breasts, regular periods and body hair. They prefer tampons to pads and waxing to razors. Two out of three have already been menstruating for two years. There are no bras in my wardrobe; I wear undershirts. If it weren’t for my nipples, I’d have no idea where my breasts are.

My belly lies against red cotton sheets with limited thread count. I am crying. My fingers smell like my insides. A salt and vinegar soak. I am desperate for an orgasm, instead, my brain channels memories inappropriate for masturbation. How sad to be inside a body that can never be clean enough.

photo by June Liu

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