Render. What is this body I have made?
How strange, this physicality of self. The things I have become, and all of those I haven’t.
Sometimes, when my eyes are not quite working right, I look like someone else inside the mirror. Unfamiliar. Foreign. I wonder if my mother would still know me—but, of course, her eyes are working fine.
I am afraid that if I begin to fall apart, I will become impossible to gather up. Instead, I see how quietly I can walk across the carpet. Soundless. Wordless. When I pass by an open doorway, no one turns around.
Convoluted. Sometimes I say the word a dozen times just like a chant so I can feel the way it plays upon my tongue and on my lips. Intricately folded, twisted, coiled. Can you use it in a sentence? C-O-N-V-O-L-U-T-E-D.
There is a praying mantis sitting on the grapevine. I am trying to teach it to curl around a post—the vine, not the mantis. He just jabs at me with his small and ancient looking form. I think that in the morning I’ll make muffins, and sit outside and pray.
Sometimes when I look down at my hands, a finger is missing. Strange black spots, I think it must be migraines but instead it seems to be the way my body breaks apart too early. Starting with the eyes.
The carpet in this house is almost purple but more brown. Sometimes, I lie down with the dogs and roll around. We like to lay there nose to nose and watch our breaths sink deep into the fibers.
So far no one wants my memoir, and I’m here in all the tangled heaps of convoluted self and all the threads I cannot tell apart.
Forget the muffins—I’ll have carrots instead.
I think perhaps if I had had a voice in all of this I would have made a little something different of myself. But my grandmother, how she always thought I was too loud. In my torn up pantyhose—how she thought I needed lessons on the quietude of woman female girl body voices.
In the afternoons, I take a nap and sleep so sound just like a baby but at night I toss and turn and rage against the nightmares in my midst. Also, I am afraid of flossing my own teeth. And falling off of bicycles.
Of course, my truth is real. It was revealed to me in dreams.
23 and Me they say I have the pretty little gene for macular degeneration and so it’s almost certain I’ll go blind. One day, when I am finished feeling sorry for myself–a different narrative to tell. But whenever I wear glasses, older men erupting at the gut say crass and unkind things about the way the lenses frame my face and I think their grandmothers never taught them all the things that mine taught me.
Is any part of me rooted in choice? Manipulating grapevines, I tell it where to grow. How tall or wide, and all the places where it should not be. Convoluted. Intricately coiled.
If you were to find my voice, could I ask that you return it?