specialize in control This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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my cheeks sear and i feel
coarse words crash along the edges of
my throat.
i swallow them down to my
trachea and pray to
god they will rest there.

“how many
inches would the wall lining my stomach be
if it were stretched out?”
i am trying not to count
every shaky breath i take in
and i am trying not to count the creases
on my mother’s forehead, around her eyes,
by her mouth.
(it’s four.)

this is what it feels like to
specialize in control.
it’s water
repeatedly being pushed into your lungs,
and it doesn’t stop or slow down.
the most it does is fluctuate until the freezing
in your lungs
becomes the burning in your brain.
the water fills your
stomach and thrusts the
rusty words back up your throat,
and you have to wonder,
“was it ever worth a fight?”
your toes are numb and not in the
same way as when you wake
up in the morning and stretch them over
the hardwood floor of your bedroom.
it’s a new sensation:
your body is a cage
your body is a cage
your body is a cage.
you’re drowning. you are the
barbells that thin arms and
meek muscles can’t and won’t ever handle.
crass words you tried so hard
to maintain claw violently
against your larynx
and it’s all suddenly too much.
you let them tumble out
of your mouth and finally
you aren’t drowning anymore.
you’re floating and it’s quiet with
water passing by your ears,
a mannequin body stuck in
suspended animation.
the bubbles from your nose have
gotten a lot smaller and you are faded.
you are fading away.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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