What is a body but flesh and bone given life.
Muscles and tissue bound together in a vast network.
A thing to fear and hate and be ashamed of.
Beneath the gaze of the scorching sun, a prison looms.
I am the prison.
I am the inmate carrying out a life sentence.
I am made of regrets and broken spirits.
I hate the skin I’m in.
It is a minefield of marks and scars.
It itches and burns.
It is an island in a sea of white.
I hate what I see in the mirror.
Cracks in the glass,
Cracks in myself.
The gangly arms.
The protruding belly.
The thinning hair.
Every little fault,
Every little flaw I’m acutely aware of.
Aunts and uncles and parents who point out my shortcomings.
The constant noise becomes a cacophony.
It drowns out the tiny little voice of hope,
Already struggling to stay afloat.
But when the sun sets, the moon will rise,
And with it, hope emerges.
Under the light of dancing stars, a temple stands.
I am the temple.
I am the god to which it is dedicated.
I am made of stardust and faraway dreams.
I love the skin I’m in.
It is descended from rice fields and war.
It is the color of dark amber.
It is a marker of the community I belong to.
I love what I feel in my heart.
Warmth and joy bloom across my chest
In a newly weeded garden.
My body of work is a work in progress.
My body is enough.
I am enough.
The ghost of the prison still lingers,
Haunting the path I’ve forged.
But the temple is radiant
And shines with a light
I didn’t know I had.
What is a body but a vessel for memories and emotions.
Hopes and dreams bound together.
A thing to learn and grow and cherish.
Editors: (first name, last initial of all editors that worked on your piece)
Nikki J., Nadine R., Zoe L., Joyce S., Anoushka K.