“Self-Assessment” by BEE LB

after Molly Brodak

Fear, or a steel jaw underbrush. Love, or 
the undeniable urge to touch flesh 
to flame. I am nothing 
if not searching for more. More, meaning 
the weight I am capable of carrying. The boundaries 
I constantly test. The limits I have not reached. 
A body is mainly something to strain 
against. If I have learned anything 
it is the surety needed to walk the tightrope 
of selfhood. It is to disappear 
the net beneath me. I remain 
unbound. When I ask for help, I take 
its gentle denial as permission 
to make a bed with the worst of myself. 
The worst of myself being made entirely of guilt. 
Guilt, or the heft of a hand wrapped around a 
throat. A, meaning my. I learned, or 
was taught what it meant to be a burden. 
A mouth to feed. A love to bear. Now, I am unlearning
how I shaped myself as result. Dizzying the world
in the search for distance. An upturned wrist. A voice
pitched high. The edges of life softening
into something like a cradle. A basin holding no 
reflection. Help, a way out, or through.
I no longer ask a question 
if I am scared to hear the answer.

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in FOLIO, Roanoke Review, and Figure 1, among others. their portfolio can be found at twinbrights.carrd.co