“What The Body Remembers”
Hair– So many years of a simple ponytail. If your hair hung lose as a child, you might as well have been feral. A ponytail at least said that you belonged to someone. Various lengths that measured strength like Samson. Having never learned their own way, the strands endured the memory of the elastic band like a lost lover, long after she had gone.
Forehead– Mistaken as my name for two or more years, the forehead owns middle school trauma. Measured against Crystal’s in the bathroom because most people had a fore, but I had a five, and this simple miscalculation was enough to prevent me from turning into the ghost that I longed to be.
Eyebrows– They do go in and out of fashion. Some of us are old enough to remember this to be true. These two plucked to desperate few in a show of teenage severity, only to be painstakingly filled in with pencil for years afterward.
Eyes– Left to fate the eyes became witnesses more often than spectators. Innocently, they often wished to be blind, as the light of perception magnified truth in the wilderness of conflicting perspectives.
Cheekbones– They make me mother’s, which is something that I never thought I was, but it remains a scientific fact that I am reminded of upon endless visual first impressions.
Nose– Broken open on a speaker box in the back of a truck. I didn’t have a seatbelt on. It just felt like my face had fallen asleep, so I put it to bed in the nook of my big sister’s neck; afraid mostly because I thought that it was she and not me who was bleeding. Being the responsibility of a sixteen year old meant that I received no medical attention.
Lips– A stolen first kiss from a boy who was faster than me.
Teeth– No one will ever believe me, but I willed that gap closed. I never predicted that I would soon wish it back. It broke up my smile with simple honesty.
Chin– The chin belongs to my grandfather. I am glad that at least mine is not as sharp as my cousin’s. It argues a final case for distinction on what would otherwise be just another long face.
Neck– Cigarette burns from the babysitter around the corner. My teenaged sister banging on her door for an explanation. Her frightened eyes trapped behind the chain lock on her door. “It was an accident.”
Shoulders– A broad set, which often disguise me as tall. One scarred from a heart ache so bad that I didn’t realize I was leaning into a fire.
Chest– The chest remembers when it was just a house for heartbeats, and was not yet defined by two glands that came to inhabit it.
Stomach– The stomach absorbed so much that it can now explain almost anything. It is, among other things, a detective. It always knows when a child is being mistreated.
Arms– The ache of letting go.
Legs– The desperation of running away.
Andrea Gutierrez is a Junior Frances Perkins Scholar at Mount Holyoke College. She is an English major with a concentration in Creative Writing. Andrea is a California native who came to Mount Holyoke by way of New York City. She has accepted an internship teaching English at Home Intercultural Learning in La Plata, Argentina for the Summer of 2014. Upon returning to Mount Holyoke in the Fall, she plans to apply to MFA programs in Creative Writing, and she has her fingers crossed that she will not only be accepted to a great program, but that it will also just so happen to be located in a warm climate. She served as the Print Co-Editor for the Blackstick Review.