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when we were doctors we wore long white coats fashionable to the ankles stethoscopes that amplified the heart cold to the touch like needles syringes filled with words that heal the hurt you can't see that hurt beneath and on the roughest days we mixed green and brown together as if mother nature nestled in our rolling papers and drew smoke from her ends hoping she'd catch our signal we wanted help doctors of our own with long white coats who kept us from the fire instead we wore braces and learned to walk alone shifting among the shadows of the city scarecrow-like with beliefs sewn into our chests and it was better to reject heaven than to accept death and when we were children we wore footie pajamas or no clothes at all with teddy bears that would shed all the years we shared the day we let them go cups filled with juice, chilled until webs of ice wrapped around their bodies feeling for the first time the peace that comes with a cold drink on a warm afternoon and on the roughest days we confided in the television and the sidewalk as chip crumbs and fall leaves crunched under our wheels in equal measure we mixed broccoli and brownies trying to convince mom that dessert first is clearly the best option for our nutrition we wanted help other children who felt the same unnameable feelings lurking in the dark corners of their rooms instead we rode alone stuffed animals held to our chest as if the secrets to love and death were sewn into them and it was better to embrace the blackest edges of our vision than to pretend we felt like just children we were wounded at birth pulled from comfort into a world of syringes gloved hands and masked mouths with white coats that look like the rain sounds our mothers made bridges with their arms and us commuters of her body rested and wailed in her comforts soon to remember how much like god she looked before we were told to look to the sky for her instead years passed and one day we reached her knees hobbling alongside her down city streets into stores and classrooms waving our arms like oars through the sea sometimes it was hard to tell if our lives were moving forward until we were tall enough to look in the mirror studying the twists and turns of our faces with tracing fingers the landscape of our bodies grew vast and strong before long others crossed our borders and for the first time we felt brave enough to slice open our chests and give pieces of our hearts away while we were wounded at birth we found healing through life and the scars that followed us from the womb sunk into our skin and refused to heal forever resting in unnameable corners we are lost in their reaches hands balancing on stitches waiting for the drift of a long white coat to see if our hearts were still beating by the time we decided to reach within
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September 22, 2017
This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the Lit.cat archives. The copy link button above may be your last chance to bookmark it. Everyone Has a Number Over Their Heads