Ana and I



By: Jennifer Xia

leftover |ˈleftˌōvər|
noun (usu. leftovers)
something, esp. food, remaining after the rest has been used or consumed.

i pick apart my body like
i am leftovers, the marred carcass lying
on the red checkerboard tablecloth at thanksgiving
miles and miles of bone beneath crackled skin and indigo veins
begging the doctor to cure my funhouse mirror eyes
distortions of curves, sweat, and body
a deep growl festers in my stomach that
the light bounces in all the wrong ways

glaucoma |glôˈkōmə|
noun Medicine
a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, causing gradual loss of sight.

a visit to the doctor tells me that
my eyes are made of disease
a buildup of fluid applying pressure to the optic nerve
but opticians cannot see everything
can’t identify that i see the face of my abuser every morning
find her in shiny faucets, silverware, and the backs of eyelids
i call her Ana and she tells me
i am in control
she stays for birthdays and holidays,
is there to celebrate the empty calorie victories
i am strong
i find myself laughing when the periphery of my vision blurs
maybe i will not see the distinction
between Ana and I with such a visual acuity
we almost look the same, but she is perfect
i have always been too much and not enough
miles and miles of bone 

midnight zone |ˈmidˌnīt zōn|
noun
the part of the pelagic zone that extends from a depth of 1,000 to 4,000 m (3,300 to 13,100 ft) below the ocean surface.

a fumbling down the stairs has me back at the doctor
i tell them it’s nothing, blame it on vision loss and confused limbs
the dizzy spells will not make me weak
i am in control
my doctor says my eyes look flat, like peering
through the lens of a submarine window 5,000 feet under
blank and washed out
but there is no daytime in the midnight zone
organisms here feed on the dead that fall from above,
catching them before their prey sinks into the sea bed
here, i eat myself hollow, swallowing spoonfuls of pitch black until
i am the bottle half empty
in the midnight zone, only the gruesome survive the night
and in the darkness, i look like death
but here i am the captain, the bearer of what passes through me
miles and miles of bone
i am in control

recovery |riˈkəvərē|
noun ( pl. -eries)
the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost

i had forgotten that the sea was blue for so long
so afraid to swallow that
i was not in control
that maybe i could be so in control that i wasn’t at all
and it was so cold down here, feeble bones shaking with
truth made of calories i could not afford
but the moon hung beneath my eyes, begged for me to stay
when she couldn’t herself as she told the sad story of her waning
and i knew this was a cycle i did not want to be a part of
i remembered that the sea is blue
that my eyes were wide open, even when the black lips of night
kissed the light goodnight, i held on to every part of myself i could find
feeling with the hands of a mother who would not let go
and the feet of a father who walked beside me
i remembered that a submarine always resurfaces, passing through
the chest-heavy pressure to breach dark waters
one bite, two bites,
swallow
i am going through an archaeological expedition
to find myself again, miles and miles of bone
uncovering baggy clothing and hiding,
back bruising and spinal uprootings
three bites, four bites,
swallow
Ana is still here
still whispers that she is in control
coats my tongue with acid, the tastebud of guilt
but here i am trying, finding myself in what is no longer hers

euphotic zone |ˌyoōˈfōtik zōn|
noun
the layer closer to the surface that receives enough light for photosynthesis to occur

there is both day and night here
healing and short of breath sinking
but i steep in sun and know it comes
lips pursed with the first kiss of beginnings
as the water spins golden
I am in control
and it’s okay when i am not
five bites, six bites,
swallow

 

Jennifer is a 16 year old from Plano, Texas.