ABSENCE AS IDENTITY
By Albany Gonzalez
So, like, Mark Manders once said, “Under the table
you have the possibility
to test your own absence.”
Which, like, a woman tests her absence the
gender smacks her infanthood.
I test my absence like I down a shot of tequila
Absence, both brutal and tender,
like the cracks of bronze dissecting
the face and the arms.
Absence, like the taking and controlling
of a body. Once I loved
a boy and his fingers scraped me empty raw.
He said I looked best blank. So I became a
or maybe more like I unbecame?
Was chipped away to no face
and no arms
but hey, at least I’m art,
right? Made bronze and clay
with absence a center piece.
self-portrait or maybe, like, the fissures splintering
a head clean off in grief
except, like, when they ask if
I’m missing him
I’m not quite sure how to say: well, actually,
I just wish I was less clay and more human,
Albany Gonzalez is an undergraduate honors student pursuing dual degrees in English and Psychology with plans to become a mental health counselor in the future. She enjoys dogs, wine, criticizing pop culture, and googling things like, “If you drink half of a 5 hour energy shot, do you still get 5 hours of energy or 2.5?” Her work focuses on self perception and identity, and the external factors that drive us to question it.