by Jihye Shin
when i was a kid i used to draw i used to draw maps of my neighborhood. over and over again. it gave me comfort to know that i knew, and that i still knew. i would draw my street, and the route i took to school, and label every street. a bird-s eye view. i prided myself in knowing the street and avenue, boulevard and street. i couldn't draw that now.
what did i do back then? what does my childhood smell like? i don't remember, and neither does anyone else. i have so clearly demarcated the place of my childhood and where i grew up. the park with the equestrian statue, the fire engines blaring in the middle of the night. the carnival across the street in summer. i only remember what i saw, and some of what i heard.
i remember going back, and so little had changed, but i had entirely. the house was still there, still two doors crammed into the building. my father had occupied that attic for years. i found him unresponsive, bleeding from the mouth, when i was nine.
what else do i remember? a somber house for a serious child, but surely i laughed in that house. i must have, but i can't remember. a specky, sickly thing crawling under the bed and into closets -- to burrow and hide, and excavate secrets.
sunflowers in korea, the bobbing faces black eyes all in a line. they moved, and i could hardly breathe. up and down, up and down in the wind, black eyes eternal, boring through me with a certainty. i'm going to die, i'm going to die, four yearsold in a reverie,
staring at the sunflowers that stared back.
what did i want from myself? i wanted to crawl into a dark hole and pull off myself, my skin and ooze my way into another. not live their life, or be someone else, but escape the now. leave my skin shed in the depths of the closet and walk out side naked to the joint. white ligaments stretching. i would wave the branches of my green-blue nerves at people and place them back over my pink muscles.