When I was younger, I was really into word scrambles and it broke my heart that my first name could be rearranged to spell ‘at risk.’ Yeah yeah, I’m too sensitive but that same heart was mended when I realized that, using my first and middle name, I could spell ‘at risk EEL’ and the image made me laugh out loud.
I didn’t make any plans for the future because it seemed so impossible, but now I’m here and I still catch myself thinking I’m 17. I hate when people ask how old I am because sometimes I can’t remember. There are moments that exist outside of time and I’m not sure if I should be held accountable for them. A man once told me that time wasn’t real, that every scene in our memory was constantly looping, but he wouldn’t mind being stuck in forever with me – and that’s when I found out it was a date, and also to never date a writer because we say dumb shit like that.
I haven’t written any good poetry in a month, almost to the day, because the words are cluttered under the pictures on my dresser. Can we talk about pictures for a second? Because I didn’t understand the dimensions of my body until I had captured them on digital film, examined them in the dusty light of my childhood bedroom. I still get lost sometimes – I send my best friends furious snaps, asking for confirmation that MY FACE IS STILL MY FACE/DO I LOOK LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME. And they are kind, and they are gentle, and they identify the face poking out from my neck.
I wish I could publish more of the pictures I’ve taken of myself. I look like cream, dotted with the occasional freckle. It’s the oddest thing. I only understand what I look like when I see it on my phone screen – even then, I’m baffled by the discrepancy between how men and women interact with the space I occupy. Other genders either don’t find me as interesting or are too polite to say so, so I’m stuck with the two best known, and each of them treats me differently, and this AT RISK EEL is made ever the more confused.