an unsolicited operation

Elysia (Editor-in-Chief)

an unsolicited operation

electricity shoots through my body

like a pen dispelling ink

but agonizing white pain

the surgeon cups each shoulder

shaking his head fiercely,

authoritatively . . .

i am


beneath my paper gown,

two legs

put up a fight

kicking, thrashing — they are unholy

those legs should belong to me

i think

my body should share the same DNA

but they can’t be mine . . .

i am


the so-called sterilized needle

is injected into my pale chicken thigh

a twinge, a twitch, a spasm of pain

my eyes roll backwards

concrete images become a

memory, something distant —

soon to be forgotten . . .

the beeping seeps into my ears

lifting me back to consciousness

a set of cold damp hands

hold my head up

without the hands, i’d collapse into

a pile of bones and drift

into the abyss of nothingness


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Elysia is an alumna of the 2015 Iowa Young Writers' Studio and the 2017 Kenyon Review Young Writers. Her (current) favorite author is Cheryl Strayed. Elysia's work has received multiple honors, including the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and most recently, the White Bear Center for the Arts WriteNow! contest.