I have found God on my knees,
read scriptures along your lifelines.
I sang your praises into my hardwood floor,
memorizing every note as they fell from my lips.
Hold me close and make me believe in a deity I can only see by starlight.
Our bible is not written in ink.
It is a roadmap of purples and blues scattered along my collarbones,
parables of passion bruised into my hips.
I will give you this body
if you will show me divinity until the glints of morning touch this church of hollow promises and hot breath.
I will murmur my sins into your skin
until the morning makes us mortal again.
But for tonight
make me your disciple,
let me drink you in like sweet ambrosia
until I am sure that the stars spell your name.
make me absolute.
When I was a girl
my mother trained me to be docile.
"If you ignore them, they will move on" she would say,
brushing the comb through my hair as I whined at every knot she pulled.
I learned to shrink,
to be an unworthy target left less blood in my mouth.
I learned to hide,
if they could not see me there would be no meat for them to pull from my bones.
I learned to be afraid,
because fear is the instinct that has left us alive.
When I was 15,
they told me I was strong
as my spine curved
to keep my head below the water
and the sun off my face,
but the more child-like my disposition
the more they wanted to hear me scream.
Now I am a woman
who pulls her hair into buns because they are harder to grab
and I no longer whine as I pull through the knots
but my eyes still water at the sting.
I have been labeled a *****
but I would rather be a ***** than dead.
I used to think shrinking would make me undesirable
but being small did not stop them from devouring me.
So I have grown fangs through this smile,
made myself too big to consume
if they want to eat me
they will have to eat me as I am,
with all my sharpened edges and tough skin.
I am the woman who has grown fangs
and I will not make myself small and easily digestible for anyone anymore.
You may consume me,
but you will bleed for it.
There is freedom in the clearing of the forest,
where the sun dares to peek through the trees and your heartbeat keeps time with the pulse of the earth.
Close your eyes and let your back kiss the moss,
feel the way it grows to engulf your skin,
pulling to you down into its veins.
There is no need to be afraid anymore,
where the forest stands witness
to the rebirth of your skin.
Press your palms to the earth
and lean into the melancholy
of the dirt under your fingernails,
feel it rise and fall under your lifelines
and know that the heartbeat will play on.
Have you ever listened to the song that surrounds you now?
It has called for you,
pulled you in,
begged for you to gaze upon its melody and understand
that it has always been meant for you.
Let your heartbeat keep time with the pulse of the earth
its rhythm steady as you descend
under its skin.
When you open your eyes once more,
you will be anew,
eyes gazing over this world, fresh and naive,
but it will still be there,
its steady rhythm linking with the sound of your pulse.
It is everywhere
and yet, you know,
it is only meant for you.
Only for you.
They say these stretch marks are my tiger stripes,
signs of my strength.
But I have never wanted to be a carnivore.
I don't want to prey on those smaller than me,
the ones so fragile I think they may crack.
I want to be a sunflower.
Long, and tall, and slim,
tilting toward the sunlight,
not just unafraid
but yearning to be seen.
I have not felt the sun on my skin in so long
that I have forgotten how it feels to burn,
to let the rays rest on my goosebumps
and sink into the warmth.
I think I am destined to be cold.
To shiver under my own scornful gaze in the bathroom mirror,
because even though I only ate dinner,
I still woke up fat.
I never asked to be covered in stripes,
these scars that have defined me and
Before I even knew what it meant to be marked
I knew to hide.
I knew to pray that the earth would swallow me whole,
because at least in the ground nobody has to see me.
The sunflower turns to face the sun,
to feel the warmth on its petals.
And one day I will peel off these layers of death on my bones
and I will face the sun
and let it burn.
I have stretched these muscles thin
trying to find salvation,
crawling through the earth
I have sought out redemption in the dirt,
sat steady in the soot under the horizon
hoping to find grace,
hoping to find you.
I am trying to grow a garden,
burying the pieces you left me in and
hoping to take to the soil
Grow from the porcelain-cracked picturesque
prison you have kept this body in.
from the nights spent above ground,
soaking in sunlight like the flower I should have
I have always been more comfortable with the
and no promises of oxygen can rip me from the feeling
of mud flooding my lungs.
One night I will see through the cracks in the
and the moonlight will beckon me from this
But until the night claims me,
before the starlight seeks me out,
I will sit with the garden I have grown
from the tips of my fingers
Saltwater has filled my lungs before.
I have felt this storm run over my skin,
felt the cracks of thunder and lightning
as the water dragged me down.
I fell in love with the bruises and the burns,
the pruned fingers and the gasping for air,
you are the dry land I have ached for all these years,
warm and soft
I have felt oxygen with you for the first time
I have laid down on your sands and felt the sun on my skin for the first time.
I am no longer a corpse,
a bruised and bloodied mass of guilt.
I will stand on these two shaky legs,
and feel the oxygen in my lungs,
and remind myself that
I am enough.
You have shown me that I am enough,
Feeling the sand between my toes reminds me that, despite everything, I am alive.
And that is enough.
I got addicted to the feeling of drowning every day,
and sometimes the storm ***** me in like an old habit
but I know that one day I will leave this ocean behind
and you will be there on the other side to guide me home.
will be enough.
I want to unhouse this body,
tear up the floorboards of my flesh,
Allow the blood to seep out into the earth.
To break down to moss might be the most merciful thing I could do to
this prison of permanence that keeps me
I am contamination,
I am illness housed in bone
slicing this skin to let the sickness seep out
to let the blood sink into the dirt
to return my borrowed body to the depths.
I never asked to be trapped
tied down in muscle and fat.
I am more corpse than corporeal
so bury me where I belong.
I have only felt joy while holding my breath.
The high of being denied oxygen makes me feel closer to you.
I crave your cold hands wrapping around my throat
ripping this skin open
letting me fall to pieces amongst the flowers.
At least the winds will whistle my name when I'm gone,
the sweet tune of the trees
soaking me in through their roots.
If I was not happy above the dirt,
let me fill these lungs with the funeral of the earth,
the carrion will make use of these remnants of skin
and I will be content to be cloaked and crowned in this castle of soil
CW: Implications of self harm
— The End —