February 4th, 2010
HISTORY OF MY BODY
Once this body went into treason. The flat-chested girl
pushed Willie Wall into the thorn bush, and never
stopped riding her pogo stick up and down the driveway
until her brother broke it. The history of this body
is the angel in snow working her arms and legs in long
slashes. The history of this body is like breaking up
a jigsaw puzzle, then letting the pieces float in the river.
Have I told you I am the hero of this body? I’m as
fluid as water spilling into the boat. I could save you,
but first, you have to almost drown. Once a mosquito
laid botfly eggs in this thigh. Hatchlings trekked
pink stripes across my skin, newborn veins radiating
from the mother egg. The history of this body has a fly
in its ear, buzz radiating like geometric lace. Take
this history back to the tonsillectomy, back to ice cream
in its swollen throat, back to the way these lips enter
a room full of men. Take this ear, a barrage of spider veins
trapping sound. History of my body is about inhaling
secondary smoke from my father’s cigar, inhaling primary
perfume from my mother’s neck, inhaling the broken
leaves of autumn crushed beneath my boot, that pile
of miniscule hands prying at the lawn, until I sweep them
into a heap and plow through them like a sorceress
with conical hat and faithful broom. The body remembers
trick-or-treat, its Snickers bars and bruised apples.
This body remembers the way dried leaves scratch the skin
when I somersault into the pile of tattooed veins: oak,
elm, maple, then wrap myself in a sarong of silver water.
Inside this body, flies buzz, this body with cake on its tongue.
–from Rattle #31, Summer 2009