grace shuyi liew

rot

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Pacing. I’ve been totally submerged this past week. Something in the air is changing (in this imaginary way of spring arriving). Even though, it’s too far south for spring here. Still pacing. Submerged as if my world’s been glossed over, or sunken under six inches of sludge. I’m waiting for the gradual lift.

This week I’ve been…eating foods that make me ill. It’s unceremonious. I keep scouring things out of the fridge, and inevitably, it’s usually something that’s gone bad, and what I put into my stomach starts flipping somersaults. Gas bubbles. Wringing.

My grandmother died young and of esophageal (also stomach?) cancer. She eventually starved away because she couldn’t eat anymore. Yesterday for lunch at school I opened my tupperware and realized what I packed had gone slightly sour. I ate it anyway. Grotesque meat. Smelly rice. Too tired, hungry, busy, shuffling between class, to really feel moved to change what I had planned. Then the stomachache I carried for the rest of the day.

Today, again, I ate something old. No excuses. I was home, with plenty of other choices. Then stomachache. My mom used to say that her mom died of eating old foods, too poor, that the cancer came because of rotten food, because she gave her children all the good food and ate only leftovers. And where did this come from, I wonder? My inability to throw anything out, any food out, and will eat old things the way my grandmother did. She was this mythical figure. I’d only known her briefly, before I could speak back to her.

Then the gurgling reflex of my body. This overcoming. And me eventually feeling as though I’d won a battle against something. Then the submerging, again. Holding my breath. What don’t I regurgitate into poetry. I vow to never throw up.

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