Skiptracing Self

Design by Karela Palazio

My skin never stretched uninterrupted. The small splash of birthmark on my right knee, Mama always reminded me, was an angel kiss bestowed. Constellations of freckles inherited from Papa became as familiar as Orion’s shifting position across the sky. I thought I knew imperfection was desirable.

Running through the islands barefoot meant knees-splayed evenings on the boat. Tweezers rusted from the same salt that blankets Salish wood. There is calm in the habitual attending to the body. I biked and skidded out and watched the peroxide bubble through my raw skin. I considered that perfection was about process.

I read that mending wrongs was wholly within my purview, yet I found myself drowning in children’s gowns fighting the root beer-sweet anesthesia as my mother told me to let go. For the first half of my life, I relinquished far more than I wanted to. All a present for a future of this.

The first time I accomplished a high, the recreational substance became the same body-vacating anesthesia with which I had aged. The fortunate anesthesiologists didn’t warn that time passes faster under the knife. I became haunted by the concepts of progression and regression. Always had been, according to a wannabe shrink on MyChart.

Is this body a rental? I’m scrambling to make mortgage payments, ownership a dream decades away. A dead pledge seems fitting, if constricting.

And yet, I’m painfully desirous of a modification—more of a subtraction from the current state than a new addition. How can I tell she who cried silently when I was assumed to have fallen asleep in hospital beds—first mistake; who could ever rest on a gurney?—that I am so painfully desirous of two more scars?

How can I make my body understand It’s not you, it’s me; think of it as a step in the KonMari Method for sparking Joy. “Life truly begins only after you have put your house in order.” I’m just moving some bookshelves.

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