How great must a shock be to determine X number of years? We go to therapists to answer such questions. To be told: shock of nth degree yields so many years. Powers on which to lean.
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Mirrors actualize our contours. As do other people’s bodies. Touch my shoulder, I feel it. The crevasse between my thighs, I feel it. The soft and cartilage of my ear. But when such tools lie beyond reach, when I recline, say, in Ovarium’s sensory deprivation tank, for eighty bucks, on my birthday, how might I know my endings? As I write this, my pen exceeds me.
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I warp my face when your gaze turns on me. I crook my chin so that flesh folds and my lip twists, exposing a thread of teeth. One eye squints, the other bugs out. I’m not trying to look ghoulish. Only: when you look at me, I see myself through your eyes, and I can’t map onto my body when half my mind stands outside.
RITUAL OF INVERSION
These days I keep putting my clothes on backwards or inside-out. First it was a pair of riding pants. Only after I’d gone to class and cycled around did I realize the thigh-pads were inverted, the hip pocket at my rear. A couple of days later my sports bra didn’t feel as secure as it usually did, jogging up the mountain. Once home, I looked down to see the breast cups exposed. As I write this, the seams of my socks stare at me disapprovingly.
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These days I keep putting my thoughts on backwards or inside-out. First it was the dream about the baby. I dreamt I had given birth and the next day, awake at a thrift store, I gravitated to the baby section and was unfolding the dearest bitty cardigan, when I took consciousness. Days later I was jogging up the mountain when I saw the man I loved, but could no longer be with, jogging toward me. When I realized it wasn’t him, I wondered whether he too had thought I was me.
* * *
These days I keep putting my body on backwards or inside-out. I walk around and catch people wondering how my heart stays sutured to my chest, my intestines to my stomach, my eyes to my sockets, when they should all come out tumbling.