by Claire "Champagne" Champommier
I brush my teeth until I’m
foaming at the mouth, clean again
for a while. The phone rings until it becomes
just another animal sound, hungry
for another voice to fill the space
I stare out the window,
not really knowing
what to look at,
as if there were a right answer. Opening
the closet door, the full length mirror
makes a sliver of the room look bigger. I avoid myself
inside of it, only because
even if I need it, I don’t like nagging. I hear myself
outside of myself, saying nothing at all.
I wear a watch
to show nobody that at any moment
I might need to know the time.
I call up friends to discover
what mood I’m in.
I pop a vitamin D tablet.
Self care. I put makeup on
just to go to the kitchen. The days aren’t days so much as
one room where someone occasionally turns on
the light. I’ve been flatlining for weeks, and that type of
consistency is just what I want to prove
to absolutely nobody right now. I hide it under my laundry
on the floor. I flash my can-do attitude instead. I am
barely here. I hear myself
from the mirror, backstage left somewhere,
reminding me that I live
in parentheses. I don’t want to read my history at face value
right now. I take myself out
for my usual walk. I wish
I could walk this day away forever, but my feet only allow my world
a 7 mile radius. It’s a beautiful day. I shower
to feel the touch of someone warm. It’s almost
romantic. I check off another box.
Back in the room, I write
“leg” on my leg in pen, just to know it
has a name. I look for mine in the mirror.
I stare. I don’t see
a person anymore.
I wonder if I’m too good at hiding, and if,
love will come and find me again. I’ve never felt
more aware as a child, and like a woman,
all at once in my life before.
I cry again,
unceremoniously. The fish will flit through the water,
always looking for a new side to his bowl.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Claire “Champagne” Champommier is a proud lesbian Asian American creative and activist. Currently a student, she has studied writing at Lewis & Clark College. Her work has appeared in Interim, Otis Nebula, SPLASH! from Haunted Waters Press, The Tiger Moth Review, Fleas on the Dog, Feels Blind Literary, and Auroras & Blossoms. She is the San Franciscan winner of smART Magazine’s poetry competition and was long-listed for the 2022 Palette Poetry Emerging Poet Prize.
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