Brittany Menjivar, born and raised in the DMV, loves storytelling in all its forms. She is currently a junior at Yale University, where she is studying English and Film. She often writes poetry at absurd hours; her work has appeared in Canvas Literary Journal, Crashtest Magazine, and YARN. She also reviews, interviews, and photographs bands as a music journalist for pop culture publication The Young Folks. In May 2019, she was selected as a screenwriting mentee for the AT&T Hello Lab Filmmaker Mentorship Program, which gives screenwriters and directors from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to have their short films produced under the guidance of Lena Waithe. Her film through the program, Fragile.com, premiered in Hollywood in November 2019, and has been featured in publications such as Vanity Fair and Mitú. If you’re reading this, she encourages you to take a moment reflecting upon your favorite childhood TV show and that song you played on repeat in 2012. 

Back Brace 

by Brittany Menjivar

Glossy, rounded,

hospital-wall-white and

jarringly asymmetrical— 

almost like a newly freed baby

tooth, fascinating in its symbolic

soap-scrubbed awkwardness. This

is 

your plastic companion—part

parasite, part friend. Its embrace

threatens to crush your crooked

bones; its weight 

sits like a demon on your dreaming body in

the discomfort of your bed; its Velcro straps

roar when your try to resist its rule. Yet

 

it gives you a form when you look in the

mirror—tells you you’re more than a

graphite-scratch-question-mark 

of a girl—reminds you to walk

forward, shoulders broad and

exposed, through the valley of the

night 

and into the shining tomorrow, when the

feeling of waking up as an overturned

beetle will be only a memory. Yes, it is

no 

talisman—yes, it stirs storms in your eyes—but

you can’t help but admire the gracefulness

of its curves, gleaming as if 

they know exactly what they are supposed to

do. When you’re lying down, balancing a glass

of water on its flat surface, there is order

 

in the chaos, and you know that you can coexist

with the snake in your spine— dance with it, even.

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