I’ve been staring at the walls of this marble prison for lord knows how long.
Soothing the fatigue of dragging heavy limbs that are tied with chains to my bedframe.
My eyes soaked much before stepping in, stained yellow from aging guilt.
While standing here, a whole novel’s worth has been unraveled between the tile’s patterns.
There are two splotches on opposite corners of the tiles that call for attention.
One paints to be a snobbish otter, wearing a pearl necklace and holding a dainty, wooden pipe.
The upper left splotch, an expert golfer mouse, with hope in her eyes after swinging for a hole-in-one.
These two ladies are deeply in love, but the situation upsets me more.
Printed forever across this vast expanse of ceramic, they’re cursed to never touch.
The otter pretends it doesn’t worry her; she really isn’t that invested in this relationship anyway.
But why else is she smoking the pain away, her deep blue eyes staring at nothing?
The mouse isn’t aiming for the 18th hole but sending a balled-up love letter to her sweetheart.
She’s petrified for all eternity, hoping her warmth can reach the other side of this frigid inlay.
Between this pair, countless characters are living out their immortality.
A small puppy with a lower-case E for a head instead of a regular canine one.
He watches this entire story not unfold, but remain unbearably stagnant.
A lady beginning her swimming lap towards the other edge of the tile, midway of her freestyle stroke.
A pristine, pale swan floating swiftly besides her as well, battling to win the Olympic gold medal.
Hundreds upon thousands of amoebas, bacteria, cells frozen in the middle of their microscopic dance.
The lovers ask me where my companion is; if love has ever been a cozy fireplace for the spirits I carry.
The puppy yips at me to find the solution, or if I have even figured out what the problem is.
The lady and the swan ask me if I’ve reached my goal yet. Do I even have one to begin with?
The nanosized beings ask why my cells are as icy as them. Does music not make them happy anymore?
The racket in this tranquil bathroom has become terribly soothing.
The soap bar remains desert soil cracked. The limescale dressed shower heater scorches my skin.
There is so much happening in this glazed slice of stone.
Boisterous streets, crowded shopping centers, packed coffee shops, hectic call centers.
Such an eventful life inside a single tile.
I wish I could say the same for my own.
Karen Sedik Sánchez is a recent graduate from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez Campus, holding a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences, specializing in bovine animals and the dairy industry along with supplementary courses relating to Pre-Veterinary Medicine. Late into her college career she realized her true passion was English literature, mainly spoken word poetry and creative writing. She sneaked in additional English courses such as Poetry Writing, Creative Writing and Public Speaking into her curriculum to satisfy her cravings for self-expression via writing, especially with topics people tend to shy away from such as the struggles with mental health, self-identity, and tragedies we all might have experienced. Along with poetry, she’s also a self-taught collage artist, where she uses different mediums to incorporate snippets of her writing.”
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