by Matilda Nevin

Aporia, n.: Greek, meaning lacking passage, impasse or puzzlement.

At some unmarked and fast-receding point, I confused my body with a house I lived in once.

If the body is a house, I am still inside of it somewhere

in a corner like the unnested pigeon caught in the blocked-up chimney, beating itself against the inner walls.

If the body is a house, I am still in the black-moulded bathroom, my bare toes on cool tile

Pressing my palms against the panes of the glass, measuring for give and take, finding only resistance.

If the body is a house, I am the now-chipped plates my parents bought on their honeymoon in Greece, handpainted a glazed cobalt blue,

My mother’s art on the wall and the sepia-toned photographs of dead people I don’t recognize – except in the moment of a distant cousin’s smile.

If the body is a house, I am the smell of bread baking, sweeter than expected, and detergent which,

opening a package from home, lifts like rain rising from hot ground. Mirage and petrichor.

If the body is a house and you conducted an inventory, you would find:

cobwebs, a great aunt dressed head-to-foot in green, the dog’s wet nose, all my mother’s broken bones.

If the body is a house, I am still carrying it around with me, trying to be something hard-shelled,

hoping to disguise the soft parts, the shadowed hollow where the neck meets the collarbone made into metal hinge.

If the body is a house, I am not sure who I am without it or outside of its walls, which are

Punctuated with holes like the full stops that litter my brother’s homework. My memory is riddled with gaps,

Aporia, and I am not sure what I invented. I want proof of the truth so badly I break my teeth on it

And yet I keep reading so I can’t see, gorging myself on letters and languages so my mouth doesn’t give me away, speaking in semicolons.

If my body is a house, I don’t know where to set it down. The how of it gathers like lactic acid in the

Muscles of my thighs as I climb the stairs, in the storm clouds of a migraine about to break in lightning spikes outside the window.

If my body is a house, I am still in here somewhere and I am not sure how I got in in the first place

Or where the exits have gone. There are no flashing neon signs, no warning systems in place,

And the storm already broke, taking with it more than I can name. If I could ever solve a riddle, I have forgotten how to solve a self.

Matilda Nevin

Matilda Nevin is a PhD student at the University of St Andrews researching women’s writing about exile. She also works part-time as a disability support worker. She has had fiction published in Banshee Lit, Present Tense Lit Mag, The Grapevine Zine (run by author Jessica Andrews) and various student publications. She also reviews books on Instagram @thehungrybookreader.

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