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Select prose + poetry:

The Iron Jacket

By Georgina Berbari

 

Sometimes when I go home, I forget to put on my iron jacket. Those are the times I think I might die. I’m serious. 

I was born with a hole in my chest. There was no way for the doctors to stitch it up completely so now I have these little man-made craters on my chest. My mother tells me that I look like the moon. 

You have to look really closely, but when you do you’re able to see tiny pockets where the air eagerly rushes in to caress my heart. Think of those microscopic holes in a window’s screen or a crack in a plastic cup that you don’t notice until water begins dribbling down your chin, neck, between your breasts. These superficial wounds many times go unnoticed. Well, that’s what happened to me, at least. 

Before I was given my iron jacket, everything penetrated me with ease. I could feel dust motes tickling my raw heart and when I bathed, sometimes it felt like my organs were drowning. There was even a moment in the summertime when a mosquito nuzzled itself into my body and bit my exposed heart. The pain was so intense that I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t. 

I remember sobbing for a week straight when the first boy I loved broke my heart. On the last day my body was a desert, my heart angry and inflamed. I remember vowing to myself that I would never feel that way again, that I would protect my heart so fiercely that nothing could ever touch it. And then that was it—that was my life’s work. 

holy dawn

By Georgina Berbari

this body

made love

with the moon

and by dawn

She dissolved

swallowed

by golden light

gracefully

streaming

through elegant branches

run inside to fetch the camera

tip toe back into chilled morning air

strip bare, bathing in patch of luminescent dawn

the world became an amorphous twinkling blur

the morning dove crooned

the body melted

into light

flirted

with shadows

i came 

home again, 

telling the sun

i am you

you are me

take me

you are my everything.

moments later, He veiled himself

behind a thick layer of clouds

but still — a feeling

a burning globe

in the heart

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