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"Altered Form of Matter" by Andrea Damic

Have you noticed how the skin on your elbows changes as you get older? You haven’t until just the other day. You have penciled this in your diary as an unpleasant encounter with an elevator’s mirror or even rather your elbow’s unforeseen rendezvous with the relentlessness of time. Are you really this old already (rhetorical!)?

It begs the question why on Earth should we have mirrors in elevators? If you haven’t done your morning toiletries, such as brushing your hair and by the same token acquiring a decent look in the privacy of your own home, having mirrors in elevators that scream back at your saggy skin, dark circles under eyes, unironed shirts, smudged makeup, a hole in your stocking or sweaty puddles under armpits…well, you ain’t gonna fix it in the seconds it takes you to get from one floor to another. All you’ll do is get yourself more miserable and no one wants to start their day with a glum.

And it’s not just about elbows. After you pass the big forty, everything seems to run downhill. Your palms are so dry they’ve developed craters and those craters house craters. No matter how much hand cream you use, it’s never enough. It gets sucked right in like a baby imbibing a nipple, with no end in sight. An endless well in a desert of aridness. Let’s not even start with the rest of you, a kilo here and there, and unwanted loose-fittings that can fortunately be hidden for the most part.

Mirrors make you feel exposed; to yourself, the people around you and the ones observing from the elevators’ cameras, positioned in that special way that captures every bad angle, even the ones you didn’t know you had. Of course, there’s always an option of using twenty flights of exit stairs, otherwise until they are banned from public spaces, you simply have to endure your own reflection gawking back at you from all directions.

So after the other day, you made a conscious decision to stop wearing short sleeves, for a while at least. Occasionally you utilize the option of the twenty flights of exit stairs, knowing full well you can’t escape time.

Andrea Damic's work appears or is forthcoming in Roi Fainéant Press, The Elpis Letters, Door Is A Jar Literary Magazine, The Dribble Drabble Review, 50 Give or Take (Vine Leaves Press) Anthologies, Spillwords, Your Impossible Voice and elsewhere. You can find her on, @DamicAndrea and

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