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on being in my body

Jessica Tsang

tw: mentions of hospitals, body image


is to say that when I look into the mirror, I must

        stop flinching. Underneath these fluorescent lights, my thoughts

are being chased away by the smell of hospital disinfectant and I can taste it

at the tip of my tongue. Some days like today,

        I want to pour it down my skin to rinse me clean, leaving me

gleaming like the blade of a knife. Photos are now a crime;

        how dare you show me my pale pallor. The nurses in their scrubs. My hollowed-

out bones. Now, my legs are no longer legs. Instead, they are jelly so

I go home in a wheelchair like a corpse. Sunlight is

a revelation and I bask in it like I was born yesterday. Except

                        in some ways, I was. In this new person,

I spend my hours looking backwards and down, always

        avoiding the windows and mirrors and glasses. Tell me,

how many times must I look at myself before I stop wincing?

Jessica Tsang is from Hong Kong. Her work is featured or forthcoming in Cathartic Lit, The Heritage Review, The Blue Marble Review and more. You can find the more interesting side of her on Twitter @JessicaTsa_g.

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