you fit so perfectly into the hollow of me that I didn’t even notice when we stopped being two and became one.
you were an unwanted body-sharer. I didn’t want your extra pounds of flesh weighing me down.
slowly, our hearts beat as one, blood vessels fused, like soldered iron, into one tendrilled map.
you had one lung and I had the other. I hated not being able to breathe without you. my ribs expanded to make space for your innards, expanded until they cracked.
your fingers were so slender, spidery, almost. they were manipulative, with a mind of their own. once, they tried to strangle us in our sleep. we would have been dead if my windpipe hadn’t been so damn strong.
it was the small changes. food tasted like sand, arms and legs all covered in small, silvery marks.
sometimes I got hives, my body’s small way of rejecting you. red, angry welts speckle my skin. I tried to claw you out of me.
we were all over the place, liver where the pancreas should be, an extra appendix there, a missing spleen, kidneys smashed, intestines spilling over, and abscesses blooming in the s p a c e s in between.
when we went to the doctor’s, they told me I was going to die early. epigenetic changes, they said. probably cancer, but maybe also heart disease or a stroke. serves you right.
JessicaChang is a rising senior at Hathaway Brown high school and lives in Hudson, Ohio. Her work has appeared in Lake Erie Ink and won a Scholastic silver medal in poetry.