“Your Body” by Shannan Mann

Shannan Mann


Voice is not enough, they want to own your body.
Chewed from flesh to blood to bone—your body.
Caged by crib, church, school, hospital—
ovum, tumor, bilestone—your body.
You learned to walk in a warzone where
your body was then shown your body.
Torn for god, for man, for child—those who
came to save (with thorns) have sewn your body.
Beauty is exile—pain, an inheritance. Encased
behind bulletproof glass—a gemstone, your body.
“No one will love you after forty.” The capitalist koan
to sell confidence, cologne, retinol, silicone, your body.
If you sulk, storm, sully their thrones for reform
they jeer like hyenas: governed by hormones, your body!
My bundle of cells, I named you before the vacuum claimed
you. My daughter would be motherless if I’d grown your body.
Lovers of life? They drill a hole through it all:
oceans, amazon, borders, ozone, your body.
Doctors deny; they follow the word of god. The word
made flesh underneath a headstone: your body.
A hundred women will be sacrificed for an unborn child.
“We want what you do, not what you are. Come, clone your body!”
Lillies in iron palms—ants in an abandoned house.
They ransack, as they did Sierra Leone, your body.
Violating divine law for dressing like a man:
burned on the stake—oh Joan—your body.
Whether you marry man, animal or music:
“It is only good for a moan—your body.”
If you’re hungry for a heart, rip out the river’s.
Say to the salmon: let me debone your body.
First, loving a body like your own was outlawed. Now: loving
your own body over another. Prisons, promises adorn your body.
You’re burning, they console the fire. When you speak,
silence sold. Truth is invisible—and as unknown, your body.
Indifference is more violent than outrage. Shannan, cry through
the eye of the cyclone. Fight for (you are not alone) your body.

from Poets Respond
July 3, 2022


Shannan Mann: “Every. Fucking. Thing.” (web)

Rattle Logo