From the day I was born, the right side of my body was broken. I was marked from the womb by an eye that would never see, bright and baneful. The right eye. For most, the left is the sinister side, but my right took that title. I am right handed, and yet my right has always let me down. My arm never throws the way it should. My right ankle gives out unexpectedly. I begin a dance step on the right and my foot falls out from under me. Last year I fell and twisted my right ankle. It has been swollen ever since, leaving me always imbalanced.
My right is branded by an eye that exploded into shards when it should have grown into sight.
This morning I changed my skin. My symbols are different now. I walked into the tattoo parlor, clutching the paper with two long curves. I pointed to my right hip, the place I began cutting. The place I had tried to rip off the curse of my right side.
My right leg still has red scars like little caterpillars crawling up it, but I knew I needed to start at the beginning. They took my picture and pressed it against my skin, leaving a dark imprint. I lay back in the chair and breathed deeply. The needles pressed into my body, a sharp, digging, pulling sensation that left me gritting my teeth. But I had chosen this pain. I had chosen to write over the scars until my skin was fully formed. This pain was the inscription of my own will upon my body. I was writing over the broken right side I had been born with and changing the words I saw there.
This is mine. This is beautiful. This is right. I will protect this space. I am not broken when I choose my own signs.
She was sitting on his floor in her underpants and one of his old tshirts, her legs splayed unabashedly in front of her like a child. She was surrounded by mess of angry creation. Oil pastels had split in half under her pressing hands, and when she looked up at him, her hands innocently forward, they were coated in oily color. The page had bled purple on the floor and stood out harsh against her pale skin.
In contrast to the childish scene, her face looked old.
“I wish I could feel the colors” she said as her wrists dripped.
The shape of the world changes when the snow falls, my mother used to say. As we drove through the park near our house she’d call it a fairy world. I could see what she meant, with the snow clinging to each branch, outlining the dead in a delicate white. We used to build new worlds, my mother and I. We would pile snow high into magical forts, or create men and women out of the blankets of white. The shape of the world has changed again, and winter does not seem so beautiful anymore. My mother cannot speak anymore.