My Bitstrip Avatar Waxes Philosophical

Caption: Forgot to Buy Groceries

The first pose is the most difficult to get right, the most difficult to hold. Everyone says so. It’s no
wonder my #006400 eyes hurt. I’ve been squinting my whole life. The sticky substance congealed on
my arm smells sweet. I was told later it must’ve been ketchup. Blood and ketchup are both
#E3170D, so smell is the best way to distinguish. I had squirted this ketchup on my arm. I sat at a
dinner table. My #32CD32 spaghetti strap dress accentuated my naturally symmetrical breasts. A
golden heart locket hung still from my neck as my freckles all tried not to breathe. My mouth gaped.
They say the first pose teaches you everything you need to know about your creator. I was born in
the middle of eating my own arm.

Caption: I Was Gone Too Long

This is fairly comfortable. It’s a soft sofa, drab in color, probably some variant of #F5F5DC. I can
see why she chose it. I like these pants, though let’s be honest, she would never wear pants at home.
And she never sleeps. But then I’ve never slept personally, so I can’t be the judge. Judgment is
reserved for dating apps anyway. The scene lacks a window, but judging from the light, I’d say it’s
afternoon. My head rests on a #89CFF0 pillow. My eyes are just half open. I don’t get bored,
fortunately. I am my own entertainment. In these endless poses, I invent my creator. Build
backwards from the scene, decode each detail, analyze every choice. There is always something more
to know. For example, this moment would be perfect were it not for one thing. There is a large cat
on my face, and it will not move.

Caption: My Mind is a Haunted Mansion

I am wearing my #32CD32 dress again. The window shutters are beginning to splinter. I’ve been
pounding all night, I think. My #FFE0BD hand is numb from the effort. My mouth is screaming.
Next to me, on the wall, hangs a strange painting. Nothing but different shades of #808080. The
sofa also is gray. An antique sconce protrudes from the gray wall, unlit. The gray persists for
months. She looks bad in gray. Made in her image, I also look washed out. I was made to pose with
#FF00FF, # FFE303, #EE82EE. I wonder, is this the end? Why would she leave me here? The
room is a nonspecific, changeable dark. There is no code for this.

ELLIE WHITE holds an MFA from Old Dominion University. She writes poetry and nonfiction. She has won an Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize, and has been nominated for both Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Breakwater Review, The Indianapolis Review, Meridian, Foundry and many other journals. She's the author of two chapbooks, Requiem for a Doll (ELJ Publications) and Drift (Dancing Girl Press). Her first full-length collection was released by Unsolicited Press in 2019. She is a social media editor and reader for Muzzle Magazine. She currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.