a body of my own

for most of my life i thought that my body was my own.

my body was my flesh and my blood,

Persephone’s temptation,

a pomegranate path to freedom.

it was my skin and my bone,

with eyes, ears, and a mouth that took in a million breaths

of fresh, sharp, glittering air.

i walked the world as if i owned it,

in the ecstasy of an endlessly blooming field of honeybees and lavender.

i owed the world nothing.

so i lived.


then you came.

taking away my pomegranate seed throne,

leaving me in the hidden abyss of night

with the toxins in your devastatingly sweet,

deceivingly sleepy poppy seed and poison ivy touches.

you didn’t know about the nightmares that came afterwards,

right?


you gave me a lover’s gentle touch,

with the bite of a hissing, delusional

black-lightning adder.

and when you placed your hand on my back and my knee,

my body and my entire being,

was mummified.

my brain hooked out of my nose,

liver and lungs removed,

with precision.

the sacred bubble that had been taught to me since i was a child,

created and popped with a single breath.

all i did was stand still while

you, the adder,

nipped at my heels.

and the only thing that remained:

my tell-tale heart beating in confusion,

with a roar of ruby red outrage and indignation.


i did not welcome your touches,

your unforgiving acts of so-called

friendliness.

there was no desire for them.

and i had only one thought that was worse:

could i be overreacting?


that’s when i learned that my body was not my own.

it belonged to the eyes of adders and men

and unknowingly,

i had let the river Lethe flow in.

what a false path to Elysium i had been traveling.


still, poisonings and bites can be healed,

with time and love and strength.

and the simple, constant remembering that

my flesh, my blood, my skin, my bone,

my body,

could be recovered in all its

noble, astrological glory.

and my community,

which heard me speak my cloud covered truths,

and let the sun shine in the gaps.

and my conviction,

which became a love for myself,

as free and destined,

as those fated butterfly lovers.


i reclaim this body as my own.

i am FIGHTING to transcend out of my frightened,

paralyzed state of being.

and i know this body is my own.

your touches have not been forgiven nor forgotten,

but i will CONQUER them.


- kaitlyn