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Lurking by Sophia Gapuz

the disease called home.

By Anayelli Andrews-Nieves


The machinery hums its familiar tones.

Lyrical stories and medicinal lies

Course through my veins,

And yet, even with that saccharine anesthetic,

I can’t get it out of my sight—

the way everything in the house seemed to live,

how each system pulsed and breathed,

and my survival hinged on all of it.


“Bougainvillea petals are floating in my IV.”  

Bougainvillea petals are floating in my IV.

i can see the tree from that hospital bed’s window.

i picked the petals from the concrete

and mixed them in myself.

Their memories leak out and

The color seeps in.

My skin is colored a shade that looks so wrong,

Blooming from blemished skin.

it’s a shade that once meant i was home.

I’m dyed down to my bones

In the colors

of a dead man.

they were supposed to save me.


the systems have already stopped sending signals.

the house became pallor and cold a long time ago,

and yet the curtain hasn’t been pulled over it.

“allow me,” and “i wouldn’t dare,”

the heart monitor screams as my fingers run along white fabric.



i think i must be a corpse still attached to life support,

endless wires connected jaggedly to my veins.

they stretch and tear and

dig into my rotting, festering flesh.

when (if) it ends,

will these marks be burned away?


there is no remedy for what isn’t a disease,

and a decayed heart cannot beat again,

so what am i to do?


sweetening my senses until there’s nothing left,

swallowing down falsities,

i’ve changed nothing.

that place is still so very far,

so far that i shouldn’t be able to say

“i still, i still, i still,”

but the words form the sound of my pulse,

and the words stab into my heart.


i still hear birds chirping in a cage on the front porch,

i still find myself in sync with the whirring of an oxygen machine,

and i have such a weak heart

that it will beat in a different rhythm

if it believes its going at the wrong pace.

But for my own sake

Even with my weakened body, I can stand

At the gravestone of a memory.


About the Writer...

Anayelli Andrews-Nieves is a student at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in the Creative Writing department and a member of the Black Arts club. She is a biracial, queer writer and was born and raised in Florida. She enjoys writing and reading fantasy stories that have a balance of character and plot focus. Aside from fiction, she also has an interest in free verse poetry that uses visceral descriptions to get across intense emotional ideas.

About the Artist...

Sophia Gapuz is a visual artist at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida. She majors in drawing and painting, and explores the world in an emotionally abstract lens, continually searching to create something new.

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