my body is not a sin.
it is not an apology.
it is not a product, or a possession or a piece of propaganda.
it is not a thing to take whenever you want, and spit back out, disgusted that i chose to speak while you grabbed and claimed consummation.
it is not a secret or mistake or limbed legacy.
it is not a piece of skin to quick and cover up, because as they say, everyone knows that if you look that way, dress that way, it can only mean one thing.
my body is neither broken nor whole.
neither shameful nor source only of disease.
neither fantasy nor fallen from the higher realms of spirit where it was once told to me i should abandon flesh and strive toward transcendent sky.
it is, rather, complex and intricate and intimate.
it is source of pain and unexpected shivers of pleasure when moving
from cold of rain to steam of hot bath,
body submerged and breathing out like echoes into a
safe room where all the secrets live.
it houses scars, from fisted and turbulent trauma, stained assault,
sharp blades and skinned knees, and also loud laughter,
and a jaw that won't unclench, softness on the back of the neck
and mourning and ease of comfort to belong among my own bones and marked skin.
i have cut into my own flesh, to leak out trauma I could no longer contain in quiet,
and then too there was the cut of the scalpel, swift and saving.
i have lost uterus and ovaries, hormones and health,
live now with chronic pain and the intricate web of injuries
that linger as part of the cure.
the cancer came and was treated and left.
the wounds of the healing remain.
i am forty, with the bones of a sixty year old.
i can no longer box or pole dance and i find myself flailing around
in search of some place to now thrash my own aggression and need to slink across a floor.
i sometimes still wake in the night, even after all these years,
shaking with the tremors of what happened
when my no meant nothing and i kept quiet just to stay alive.
what i did for my own survival still lives here, embodied, in me.
and i do not think that will ever change.
and perhaps i would miss it even, if it one day up and left, relocated into another room.
because though it speaks of horrors, it too is mine,
belonging to me.
as are the lines deepening around my mouth,
and the way sun sinks into my skin
and the sounds i make when ready and waiting, like a sharp intake of
breath that hovers there just inside the space between mouth and throat.
the body contains multitudes.
and this body. it is my own.
in all its complexities. its ambiguities.
its wonder and its relief.
its remarkable strength and its unresolved woundings.
its falling in love and its feet, found sure here on solid ground.
so here i am.