Trying to Get My Body Back
As if the baby had slithered away with it. As if I had carried a spare
change of bodies into the hospital in my overnight bag. As if a trapper had
come in the night, slit it from me like a pelt, leaving me pooled
in the bedsheets. As if I were a game
show and svelte models displayed my body on a turntable, glittering
in the Showcase Showdown. As if my body had run off to join the circus, wanted
to be the girl who is shot from a cannon. As if it had wagered itself on a hand
of poker and lost to a man with diamond teeth. As if it were a nautilus, emptied
on the beach. As if it were a shopping cart, a locker key, a rented suit. As if
I had pawned my body for cash.
But not as if the body can't empty and fill, empty and fill, like a harbor.
Not as if lungs don't give birth to breath, pregnant again every pause.
As if it can't grow like a sea star, relimbing itself from a center.
Or that the body might think it's a wardrobe, larger inside than out,
might fold itself in like a tent, or dissolve
like an old country's borders—a crossing shuttered, the guards asleep.
Not as if bodies can't winter like gardens, or ebb like a river.
As if my body hadn't bourne me itself. Had wanted to be a cathedral
sounded, or a chamber echoed, a canyon hollowed
by waters—all fullnesses formed by what has been sculpted away.
This poem was previously published in the Winter 2018/2019 issue of Ruminate.