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Guest Writer

This must be pain
Fallen angel
by Roxanne Aponte

f I could have understood the gods and what they had in store for me, perhaps I might have been prepared. But who could have known on that cold and desolate night that I'd awake on Earth's dampened soil, gazing back up at the stars that paved the gateway to my home.

We used to have to push the stars out of the way to see the world beneath. We were secretly fascinated, almost envious of its diversity, so much pain and pleasure singing at once in perfect unison, neither thriving without the other.

Their coexistence made the distinction possible for them I knew, but what we didn't understand was what it might feel like – to experience, to love, to hate, to cry and orgasm, to grow, die and cherish reflections and fleeting moments of nostalgia.

I watched their eyes wrinkle and leak, their lips stretch wide as they convulsed in delight. They engaged and played, their faces grew ugly and voices rose. I saw them attach and nurture one another, breed like the animals they treated as inferior, kill one another, move fast or slow. They scratched and they writhed, they destroyed themselves, they were born and then they were fed to the ground only to once again become a part of the earth. The world almost seemed too large, yet so terribly small for them because somehow they were confined.

And who were we but servants void of this humanity?

We were too divine to feel but we sometimes desired. Our longings were our sins and so we fell, one by one. But it was no loss, for there was always another waiting to fill our place. I grew curious not only of the way they caroused and delineated their lives, but also of the way they seemed to need each other.

I found I came out of some sort of sleep. Startled by my own trembles, I realized my need for breathing. My eyes twitched and I felt raw and new, like fresh-cut meat, naked and unprotected, but the sight of myself was fragile and arousing.

I couldn't escape nor navigate freely and so I discovered that one thing connected to another. My bones seemed to bear the heaviest weight, joints cracked with sounds of the living. How I ached. I'd already been given a name and my destiny was sealed, but the journey was made uncertain by my freedom of choice.

Promises had been made which I understood were validated by language and I loved a man like the air that I breathed, the air I felt I had needed. I loved my mother, my nurturer, even though I couldn't recall who bore me. I noticed that differences made humans beautiful and ugly all at once, and what was not understood was sometimes murdered. The process of elimination was grotesque but there were always willing participants who felt they were recreating the world.

I was stripped of my wings, hacked with red axes the bright color of the blood that dripped hotly down my back and I thought to myself that this must be pain.

But I'd been a part of this all along, even here as my thoughts fell hopeless, my body turned thin and hardened like stone, for we were savages in need of shields. The tubes – slowly and surely I was letting them suck the life from me; blood, energy and all my desires depleting, all the love scarce and its original source unaccounted for. I realized this wasn't my punishment, but a gift.

For there are the very few who dare to be a witness and I knew I didn't want to die like this.

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