I am hanging, suspended above the unseen; once I drop past the haze, I may find myself met by a warm place in the dirt where the earth invites me to settle, or falling without cessation. The darker path is the closest. My college counselor tells me to stop birthing catastrophe. Every day, a suture comes undone, another piece of me rolls onto the concrete stretch between home and school.

The lines that I straddle in phantomhood frustrate me more than any absence. They tell me, “You can touch the boundaries, but never enter. You are not real. You are not flesh.” I feel like the husk of the girl I was supposed to be. Shaky illusion. The unsteady state between identification and burial: What has this body become? The stench forms a canopy that cannot be split for any necropsy.

Years ago, I could not bring myself to understand how one could be alive and yet not exist. I live, but I am not being, I am not doing anything but letting a poorly arranged routine leash me. For the past few years I have failed myself, and that gradual realization is flattening me as I prepare myself for expulsion from the second womb.

I am not enough. Sometimes, I feel as if it will always be this way. ♦