Yesterday and Today

Author | Victoria Siu

I.
A coiling, relentless creature that tests the iron bars of my Yesterday and Today—there’s a leviathan inside me. I can’t help it. When I relax, when the thick cement of tension melts away, scales press through skin.  I get tired sometimes. So do the iron bars.  
I get tired all the time. My words get me too careless, the bent metal stripped and cast aside. And I see thick green body slipping away.
I tried to touch you, but there’s only torn flesh and teeth marks. It’s acidic isn’t it?
My leviathan. 

II.    
The flashing light switch, the brightness—I hear my father’s footsteps coming and fading—is turned on. This is the moment where I roll deeper into the quilted folds, back into the warm shadows, and pretend I’m not breathing. At least, that’s what I’m supposed to do.
But today, my eyes were wide open before the light bulbs shuddered into their bright existence. My eyes have contemplated the ceiling, contemplated the windows, contemplated the folds of my bed sheets. I am a new person today, rising from the tear-dampened pillow covers of yesterday night. I let out a rolling sigh, exhaling my entire existence out of my bodily husk in one breath, and suck the air back in hungrily because—
—breathing exercises. We are training and I am a coach—I am a coach learning to master my mentality—a colorless blob of brain tissue. 
I slept a dreamless sleep last night where all I could see was black or do I even remember? Now my mind is surprisingly clear like still water in a bathtub. I can see all of my nakedness and this time, I accept it—this clarity. Or, my mind is clear like preservation fluid that fills the tank with a cadaver inside. After all, when people die, they are no longer people—
—they are (according to medical textbooks) cadavers. 
In a memory there is a female cadaver hanging on a tree with her womb tumbling out loosely. 
Maybe through this transparency I’m not longer a person, but I’m beyond some cadaver floating in greenish preservation fluid. I have been reborn from the womb of a woman's corpse hanging from tree branches. 
I can feel the muscles in my legs gathering momentum as I roll up into an upright lotus position on my bed. Criss-cross applesauce. Yes. Back to the beginning. 
Back to a new beginning. 


About the Author | Victoria Siu is a current sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Biological Basis of Behavior and minoring in Creative Writing. As a former Lab Assistant in Abramson Research Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Siu hopes to interweave her passion in research with her passion for writing. She is currently the Design Editor for Penn’s research journal, Synapse. Previously she was the Editor in Chief of her high school Columbia Scholastic Press Association Crown Award winning literary magazine, Itinerary. Siu has also organized and taught creative writing workshop at Nathan Adams Elementary in Dallas, TX. Her writing has also been recognized by Creative Communications as a semifinalist in their summer contest edition. Siu is an avid fan of Hayao Miyazaki and loves listening to Michael Jackson.