in spite of what i might have heard about you, body,
i sank down between folds of skin and hair follicle
even when i only tried to quell the murderous quaking
in my heart ensconced in desire divided.
this is not a poem about my body.
who was that body. who was that person.
i slammed my palms into skin and the elasticity
proved to me we were still kids.
there was hope for this.
we could recover.
“bounce back,” is what they say,
as if we were rubberband balls,
all convoluted and twisted
(though of course we were).
and how are you supposed to tell your child
one day she will hate her body and that there
is nothing you can do about it?
no ointment, no salve, no words strung together
to explain to her that we are all rotting alive.
now you tell me what is beautiful.
i walked over my own body without recognizing it,
ignoring the scars and even the tattoos,
finding strength in cellulite because
“everyone’s got it, hon”
and you can rip the story right out from under
the skin and no one will ever know it’s yours.
your dust is my dust is her dust is the world’s ash.
but we are not dust yet. so press your ear
against my chest. and listen.
we lie beneath a streptoccocus moon where i envisioned
your surgeon’s knife ready to make the incision, ready
to scour my insides with sandpaper where dwells all
the infection of the ages: the jealousy and the anger
and the spite–it winds through my organs like an asp
and even my heart is bitten. where did i come from:
the earth spit me up like sour formula and the water
delivered me from its waves onto the shore to say it
was done with me. we lie beneath a bloodred moon and
you are the one who gets to decide if we are reclining
with ease or begetting falsehood. when i lie, i lie by
myself. so get off this rock and leave me alone.
she has eaten the fruit
from the tree that knows
she’ll never be a size zero
where the sound of judgment
comes from the scrape of ribs
against bleached cloth
where starvation is sacrament
emptiness is communion
no need for reconciliation
a faith so strong
she can taste salvation
without the calories
a faith so strong
she would die
in its name, for
she is blessed
not by water
made holy by man
the very dirt
that will bury her.