Category: Poetry

Words of Affirmation

Funny how powerful is the highest compliment for a man,

and a liability for women.

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Temple

My thunder thighs don’t say temple.

My stretchmarks are not stones where monks kneel.

My bruises and scars are not made of stained glass.

My body isn’t a temple.

My body.

This body,

is capable of recovery and growth.

It meditates in the miracle of healing.

It’s not stagnant, not easily broken.

 

I don’t think they know what my body isn’t– only what it is.

And to them, it is a site of worship.

The focus and reverence on my skin,

wordless prayers on my lips–

I can tell I am church to this person.

That this is a pilgrimage they’ve made.

I don’t know all the lovers and deserts they’ve fasted through,

What seas of strangers they’ve parted to be here,

Right here,

Testifying at the center of me.

I don’t know what sermons they’re saying,

but I feel what they mean,

what they mean in this monotheistic moment.

This person makes me feel like this is the only god they could ever fathom praising.

 

I am not my own temple.

Any temple that’s suffered the wreckage I have would never survive.

But this can be a temple for someone else,

their sanctuary for visiting touch.

We become shelters for those who honor us enough to let them stay.

 

Warning Label

I wasn’t built to be small

Or quiet

Or demure.

I was made with a blowtorch rather than a paintbrush,

And my tongue is more stiletto than taffy.

I am Fortissimo on a Tuesday,

and utterly deafening come Friday.

To love me is to dance with me as I am,

rather than trying so desperately to sweep me off my feet.

To love me is to understand that cutting me down to size is like taking a nail file to the Himalayas,

Arrogant that you can reduce something that only knows how to be vast.

There’s a lot of dull sandpaper in my wake.

So you,

potential suitor,

you with lantern eyes lit by my fire,

I can’t shrink for you.

I won’t try

because I know what I was made for.

Love works like this

No one is ever yours.

You are not the keeper of a spirit,

nor the jailer of a soul.

You get to love them,

in doing that, you love everyone who has ever loved that person.

Even when you don’t like their loved ones, you love everyone

who guided this person to you,

who lit the way and led them into your arms.

Emotional Hail Mary’s

All too often, I am the recipient of posthumous affection–
An affirmation arriving way too late.
These are not love letters but obituaries,
More eulogy than sonnet.
“I love you”s are epitaphs to my ears.
They don’t understand that their words don’t adorn me—
They collect dust in a moseleum.
I want a love with as much life as I have,
With a pulse
And sweat,
And better timing.

Prayer

I hollow my head of every cluttered though,

allow a higher power in.

“Soon,” I am assured, “Soon”.

With every repetition, the knot in my throat passes.