#GirlsWriteBack: "Aphanitic Boy" by Fatima Tall


#GirlsWriteBack is a summer writing project hosted by the GirlSense & NonSense Blog.It features weekly essays, poems, and fiction by young women writers responding to news headlines.


By Fatima Tall

Responding to: "Teen Rescued After Fall At Rocks State Park", CBS Baltimore

He chewed on rocks because it was the only thing that could keep him from saying anything to keep him from saying anything to keep him from saying anything because their small quartz minerals mixed with glass and irregular grains cut his tongue an invisible sadistic pain that no one would know he had unless they asked an invisible sadistic pain that radiated sounds as his jaw came down that made people hear him in ways his voice couldn’t his voice wouldn’t

An act that could not hurt anyone else he chewed on these rocks because it was self destructive and self instructive and no one could tell him otherwise something he could feel for himself irregular grains that could fit in the empty spaces you could only see with black rimmed magnified glasses and bright squinted eyes

He chewed on rocks because their metallic taste reminded him of the ground and the foundations that many successful “do it yourself” miners and pioneers who had made their way up and conquered with hope and fear all without someone spotting them without someone watching them without someone

So he chewed on rocks because he too tried to climb he too tried to take hold of his rocky situation but the further he made it alone the smaller he got on the horizon of missed opportunities and he knew too well that people wouldn’t see him struggling that far away not until he lost his grip not until he lost his fit in the rocks he’d come to familiar with not until he fell with a mouth full of rocks not until his mangled body could be seen in a defeated heap would they come and help

because we tend to only believe in things we can see like broken bones and the sun