On memory: “self and other”


Despondent at the sight of her, waxing caramel and silk, bruising blue from apathy. Who it is I am looking for in the shape of her, the curve and weight of her bones. The scrutiny of this survey has everything to do with consumption. Mass of flesh, scent of jasmine, soap, talcum powder.

I become suddenly thirsty and my legs fold in like a hand. From every angle calls some small adjustment, something not quite in place, not quite concealed. I remember the shirts I wore in highschool, carefully selected from your laundry pile and big enough for my body to move beneath them unnoticed.

Meanwhile she moved with such a lightness I had never been empty enough to feel, spread her toes across the bathroom counter smoothing lotion into her calves; she had six children for the institutions of God and marriage. What I saw for the sake of this story was the width of her waist on an inhale, saw her spinning across the living room floor. She praised my poetry then stopped calling altogether.

Of course I never expected she would, and this is not really about her, or the blue light of my new apartment where no one eats and everything is covered with a film of dust and the smell of smoke. I blink into the mirror and take a sip from a white, enamel cup stained with her lipstick. I know that I will see her in the kitchen and she will have cut her hair again. She will be quietly frantic, pouring cream in her coffee and letting the filter drip. The garbage can is full of dust and the ends of her cigarettes stained with lipstick.

If the weight of my bones were a little less dense. If I did not bruise under the touch of her fingertips. I could step into this room unfeeling, dressed in animal prints and steel, chewing a stick of gum.

word by Alisha Mascarenhas
colour by Gan Chin Lee