I am a Pre-existing Condition.

The decaying air that I breathe. The food I eat, poison as that apple. Shiny, blood red and I didn’t learn from Eve’s mistake. Was it a mistake?

I die a small death with every step I take on this gold-flecked street, only it’s not gold, it’s just mica. But they are all minerals on this great ball that we must keep up in the air, but we keep almost dropping it.

I die with each of my steps and I die under yours. You too die every time you grind your jackboots down into the ground and you say you are dancing.

And still I trudge up the hill, trying to find my god. Or your god. Or no god. Or all the gods. But at the top, all I find is a guillotine.

Love and hope are pre-existing conditions before you scour them away like mold in a shower.

Thickets of needles and roses. The poison underside of stinging nettles we pluck to boil. The baby born of rape. The flowering bruise. The pain. The regal osprey. The virus. Fields of skin-tearing corn. The corner’s darkness erased by a lightbulb. Thunder in your belly, hammers in your head. The tight corset in your lungs. The blood that is too thick. Too thin. Too sluggish. The heart that is bigger, smaller. The hips that are splayed. Reject. Abject. Object.

The only thing that isn’t a pre-existing condition is death. As corpses, we are saying we used to exist. Once. Once on that ball, eating that apple, on that golden path, we existed. We lived.

Jennifer Fliss is a Seattle-based fiction and essay writer. Her work has appeared in PANK, The Rumpus, Necessary Fiction, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. She can be found on Twitter at @writesforlife or via her website, jenniferflisscreative.com

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