I. Mirror, Mirror

“Why do we have these bodies,
these forms that decompose,
that begin to fail us?”

It’s okay to consider
the wrinkles first. Trite,
but I did, to my dismay,
because we are women, Constance & I
with specula propping eyes wide
to serums & injectable pharma-brews,
ancient melon extracts from the south of France,
peddled by supermodels & lab coats
who gently dab pleats & crow’s toes
as if they were boils. The promises flood
every layer of consciousness, leaving us
in cosmetological comas
some succumbing, forms becoming
pornographic putty.

Consider the sag of belly
post uterine jettison, hips coming
hormonally unbound, pocked and channeled
where abdomen & saddles
had to burst.

But I was being vain. This is only
the body’s corrugated storytelling.

This is only gravity.


II. Poisoned Apple

“The arrow of time cannot be disputed.”

When color leaves the flesh of the living—
warm waxy skin arriving at autumn
anemic tarp atop rotting muscle—
the patient

your mother, your brother, you

will identify as
the tumor itself, grotesque and
grounded, staring up into billowy heavens,
admiring the boughs that endured you, awaiting
the hand that discards you.

Their body becomes an ashen land,
exits & rest stops
dog-eared by disease. Mile markers
have wicks burning down their center
each year melting down, unstopped
until a cold stethoscope
kisses the chest, instructing

“Take a deep breath.

This is what I thought she meant. I thought
we were talking about watching our elders die
slowly. Shade by shade, bone by bone,
withering synapse
by synapse, memories
disintegrating into oblivion.

But long before end-stage aging
even cartoon band-aids begin
this inculcation of brokenness.



Alicia Ochoa Brall is a Phoenix native and received her BA with creative writing emphasis from Northern Arizona University. Her work has previously appeared in Four Chambers. She resides in Phoenix with her husband and stays home with their two daughters, writing poetry only when the sky is midnight black and a series of volatile stars have become perfectly aligned.

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