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Bedrum; 기억의 (of memory)

CAS for Database

Esther Lindley

Bandung, West Java, Indonesia

Bandung Alliance Intercultural School


Bedrum; 기억의 (of memory)

Grime between your teeth, dirt under nails, oil on skin spread thick; you peel a chubby finger from hallowed cheek to flickered cheek under eye, across nose, stomach unfurling down groin to calf to feet. Matted hair floats a river yellow-brown; it rises and sinks in current and stream, whistling, walking clayed brick paths pounded smooth for open given mouths which ache and ache, a feverish yellow spreading across abdomen punched in purple from sickness ringed like a worm infecting from poorly washed buttered lettuce. So you swallow pills to kill your inner child, lice wriggling yet hollow, pushing through endometria and lifting slowly, as if on a platform, to a praised endemicity that swallows whole and consumes gradually in the stomach acid of a sheep. My tooth heeled like a copper coin, death in my mouth clicking with gold fillings material as dark clouds chided to the nineteenth of June where your name bruises like a nail painted purple, where the backs of your knees are stickered with glitter from silica on breath; where your skin and lungs, scarred and stiff, weep blood and water from pores poked and widened; all mother hen, selfish and red, carried warmly on your right breast. As a 10-pound weight is thrust through the air into the back of your black skull, as a river spring crashes bodily through cracker, tile, and cardboard roofing, you push, pail on the arm of California-tan beaten into cream, through soft belly fat and browning ribs. How can anyone trust anyone willing to take their rib, five with six, and set them in another? How can I lift chest with chair through barred windows— past ill lights and water-stained ceilings peeling rotting lard on laid flat stomach: clear and undepilated?

It’s a saddened state of living reduced to rubble and concrete bubble. Blowing soap kisses into your spouse’s mouth, causing ruddy hot ears following pulse to neck and space between, above the breast, is in part a whole reminder of beginning spiraling shocked into a sudden end of rooster with pig and calf with hopeful four-legged spider. Each tips of taste distracting from dying days and last breath sun strokes, fading burnt tangerine lime green, reflect a portrait of your face in saturated color not far from my hand consumed by lined, small-text paper.

Curling colored paper drips wet off your sliding face; the sheets you grasp shift to slippery fish hungry for life back into salted water—a delicate meal. I bite and chew but I don’t like it; in a decade and year, I will, but will you? You, a gold-starred autocannibal crawling into yourself and into flapping stomach skin; I can beg, light up, strip my scalp and sink fingers into desperately dissolving stratus, and still, your eyes cloud. Eyes turn back to curled hair frizzing in heat or girl-pink two-wheel bicycles sprayed black and green because the only color on your mind is neon yellow shoelaces on black shined boots caked with mud and dead skin from your cuticles bit: the only real food you eat. Real is what you see and what you see must fit in your mouth—or at least appear to—because what is bigger in our mouths than life, than all the things we need? A snow globe is a blood-soaked, choking-on-air permanence, like anchoring to the bottom of a deep grey sea, or the most boring person you’ve ever met, frozen in infinite, inane conversation. Imagine living every morning waking to the same fogged mirror, stuck forever in one place and one home, hoping for a different face instead met with the same nose, the same eyes, and the same horrible mouth which never moves like mouths should move when talking to someone they love. That is a life, a memory, a room with a demon in the mirror that never leaves. It must be turned around against the wall or you would have to see, the glares in the mirror, girl laughing in the mirror, there’s your face– staring unblinking, alicey, into this foreign body.


"Bedrum; 기억의 (of memory)" wields language unorthodox and visceral enough to make your skin crawl. Through a brutal unwinding and "autocannibalization" of the self, this piece guides you through the filets of memory—often dark, often painful, and always beautiful.


Esther Lindley is a world-traveling bookworm, writer, and music enthusiast who has lived in India, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and California. She has published work on Teen Ink and was a writer and co-editor at her school’s student-run newspaper club. Esther writes often about her feelings and thoughts on identity and belonging. At any time she can be found listening to Car Seat Headrest, The Mountain Goats, and other badly named indie rock bands.

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