today I reckoned 
the universe conspired against me 
my name it hearkened 
I surrendered to it completely  

claimed territory
over my folds and orifices
inflammatory
conquered even my crevices

pain, this universal, mother tongue 
I learned her well / speak unaccented 

permission to live
with saline drips and surgical tricks
found comfort in love,
and art: tales, poems, and shutter clicks  

therefore, I reasoned
the universe conspired against me 
but never managed 
to break me the way that you broke me

  • Zahraa Chorghay occasionally attempts self-expression through art, calling upon her understanding of science, her experience surviving chronic illness, and her existence at the intersections of multiple self-identities.

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