Protocol for Survival:
1) a) The underestimated boning knife, made for small spaces, but it peeled me right open, a bursting orange, all my thigh meat grinning toothy at the fluorescent bathroom sky. The shower painting the tiles scalding red, the failed bathrobe tourniquet— 18 and lip-kissing death in an empty dorm. b) 19 years old and they have taken my shoelaces. Some of the patients thought this was excessive while I begged for anything shaped like rope. c) My mother has been in an accident. The car spun, flipped, burst into flames belly-up. I am 12 years old, in a hospital waiting room, attempting to fill out forms. I have forgotten how to read. I ask a stranger for help writing my last name. 2) a) Thigh meat and muscle stitched up. Skin puckered, kissing itself. When asked about the scars, I tell a wild story. The sky red and screaming, the horses spooked, the rain violent like whips before the crack. My best Palomino with a leg caught on barbed wire. The hieroglyphic cuts on my body, a story of bravery, throwing myself onto the fence, freeing the favorite horse. None of this is a lie. b) Once released, I threw out towels, sheets, the tempting bath curtain, anything tall enough to touch the ceiling. I dripped dry for 6 months. I burned all the laces in my shoes. c) I completed the forms, and woke my mother up every 2 hours like the Doctors said. I fed her frozen grapes and asked her to write our last name. They called back 3 days later and asked about the metal staples in her head. She said she got them rescuing the horses.
Effy Fritz’s poetry has been featured on MTV News and Button Poetry, among other places. Effy was a member of the 2015 Temple University CUPSI team which was awarded Best Group Performance. She holds a BsC in Neuroscience and is currently immersed in immunological research at the University of Pennsylvania.