The Copper Age

You have taken the responsibility of your health as well the health of those who are dependant on you! It will all pay you off very well later on and you will be proud of the results. The fitness level will boost for yourself and for those you have intended to take care of! You may also get an opportunity to train a huge lot of people.

(sic).

x

This is your fate: cancer in its fourth house and the horoscopes are looking less reliable these days. You think you spot a streak worth striving for, but you check again and your luck fizzles out; the report long since disproven.

You dog-eared journals from the library and pamphlets from street corners, cross-referenced the recommendations of academy and astrology. You chose the IUD because it is copper: an endocrine-free form of prevention, a tiny metal T to stop cells from forming another person or else too much of yourself. But part of you knows that this is written into the earth’s rotation and the angles of its stars. You can read about the fortunes all you like, but the choice is not ultimately yours.

x

The pain will come upon you in the middle of linguistics class as you trace hieroglyphic symbols, and it will feel like something is trying to get out. It does not claw, but braces itself against your insides, like a rugby player trying to wrestle his way out of a scrum. He holds something he values more than flesh, he tilts his shoulder, and runs.

Other times it will feel like you swallowed the tip of a mechanical pencil, and it made its way down and settled comfortably inside you. It follows and defies all of your movements, so if you go to stand up, it burrows downward. When you lie down, it floats toward the heavens. Your circadian rhythms are ferociously syncopated.

x

Hormones scare you. They scare your mother enough that she refuses to buy tofu. They scare your sister, who seems to eat less and less. Your father only fears grapefruit, which is the scent of your mother’s perfume. Its juice interacts with his Lipitor, inhibits the breakdown of his Buspar, stops the work of his Prisolec and interrupts his Seroquel, so he avoids the bathroom where she puts it on, as if the smell of his wife may kill him.

You ingest soy but not pills, inhale smoke but not BPAs, eat fish but not oysters. The lines that you draw are frail, but at least they are your own.

x

Your mother had her ovaries removed after her breasts, after her lymph nodes and her hair, a tooth, two tendons. Your mother is not so much your mother anymore but a set of hooks and eyes holding her together.

Her menopause came on like 1AM on New Year’s Day — suddenly, sadly, with rotting confetti, caramel-colored vomit, and regretted kisses littering the sidewalk. You once saw her sneeze and a tuft of hair fell out of the left side of her scalp. She did not bother to pick it up. It keeps growing after you die, she tells you with a wink. We’ll have time for it then. You know this to be false but you do not tell her, instead let her imagine her body more abundant in the afterlife than it is now. The two of you go for a walk three blocks down to the plaza. You talk about the people on benches, the smell of waffles coming from the food cart. You slow your pace to keep in stride with your mother's pulsing thyroid, and the two of you aim to crunch all the fallen leaves on the asphalt.

x

You are in awe of how much can come out. You do not believe that so much can exist inside of you. You think yourself Pharaoh and know your body to be Egypt and all the water that was in it has long since turned to blood. You see this as the only possible explanation.

One day you will wake up in your own Nile. You will faint from the pain. The word perforation floats among the doctors, and you know you are no longer sovereign. They say scarring, tilted. They say barren. Smiling, the earth takes its revenge for you trying to bend its axis. You see your mother, imagine her with an eyeball popping out as if on a spring, arms lopped off like a mishandled mannequin, a face without lips, even. You feared bearing children as fragmented as her, body scattered all over nation like Osiris’ bones.

You fear this no longer.