no one will ever love you if you're too fat
maybe I will love myself instead
I hold my breasts in the mirror,
imagine the past. Pink nipples
like wanting mouths, skyward.
Skin unstretched by milk and time.
Downstairs, my children are noisy.
They laugh and play, want something to eat.
My mother had two scars for breasts.
I see them once, in her garden
of vegetables, fruits, anything she can preserve.
She lifts her shirt to wipe her brow,
two puckered seams beneath
like eyes waiting to open.
She leans down to the dirt,
stands up again.
In her arms, a bounty.
On a cold winter night,
my womb transitioned
from a grave to an empty tomb.
Yet somehow, this cemetery
transformed itself back into a home.
When you fall asleep
I spit in your mouth
Then cover your slumber gently with a pillow where the soft cotton shields your eyes
and the draped fabric smothers your face
So I can
rush to touch vigorously the salacity of my skin.
That your skin
do you cringe at the thought of
a speculum — at the thought of
spreading your legs for another man
who did nothing
to deserve you?
I’ve learned to
love this skin—how
it stitched itself together
stronger than before
though still haunted
by how close
of pain came
to dwelling in
more dangerous places—
by life’s razor-thin
margin of error.
Please Touch the Art
Brush strokes turn oil and skin to paint and sin
so that means all artists are close to coming
and that means all artwork frames up fucking
with the detail in my thighs, lines, stretched wide and a gloss that begs the brain to be touched, spread apart,
You should know my pussy is freaky fine art.
i tattoo my body for relief
my body is my temple
and all the best temples
have stained glass windows
To the Made Up Girl Who Told Me Concealer Hides Freckles
I own my cellulite from three babies
I brought into the world.
You wanted a woman, not a little girl.
And still I win against
college chicks with big tits,
the new pussy of a dead fish
gets you nothing in the end.
what she doesn’t see beneath this constellation
of bitter stars set in sour milk skin
is the river of words running red -
rusted shards against rising current
of homogenized cream
"There's just more of you to love, baby."
He says this like it's sweet though I've seen his sideways looks.
My body doesn't make me more or less anything.
He repeats that phrase with a hand sliding down the more of me to what he wants.
"There's always been enough of me to leave."
layer by layer, i lift my skin, cleaving unbelonging pieces,
discarding damage i despise, leaving my body raw, alive.
needle between fingers, i begin the patchwork,
realizing i need a different sort of stitch.
I apologize for the cuts I gifted you just
to calm the burning steam in my heart
but you're the one with skin.
Rahma O. Jimoh
It’s got to be a secret the way my mouth floods, bewitched
by the easy way your hands clasp between your knees.
I wonder how the He Gu point in the web of your thumb would taste.
One hand reaches up to kick back your hair.
Isn’t that supposed to mean you “like” like me?
And I wonder if we would fit in each other’s routines
the same easy way you would fit inside of me.
i used to hollow myself out with hunger
puke until stomach acid had rotted my teeth
now i’ve gone from extra small to small to medium to large
but at least my teeth are in better shape
at least i’m still alive
One Foot in Front of the Other is a Ritual, Too
Sun-drunk on my own thighs is a lot like being mad
with power, glaring through my mask-covered teeth
at the vacation-home-town name plastered
across the out-of-state plates.
It’s happening, you said
as though announcing the arrival
of drought or disease
when you saw my breasts
budding too early.
It must have been something I ate.
Andrea Lynn Koohi
"I have too much skin for you to love."
Tell that to the long-dead kings
beating their dicks to my Instagram pictures---
I am the Renaissance.
Catch Me in
My mother told and tells me I do not eat enough.
I say I am: enough for me; I am eating even now,
digesting this moment, consuming again a morsel
of world. But she insists: she can see straight through
me, clear to the other side.
I misremember a Milan Kundera novel
Tereza takes me by the hand and tells me it's okay
to shit. That corporeality is good, actually -
not a sign of weakness. And I ask her how
she got my address
but she's thin as the air - the lightness unbearable.
Pussy jungle hair
-don’t care. Obsessed much? Don’t share.
Prepare for hot rain
Down there. I hate it
Bare. Nature made perfect my
Pussy jungle hair.
Pussy Jungle Hair
A pile of skulls and bones, bodies you killed with words.
Drag them along for me to see, but I don't scare easy.
My bones, they are seekers with magic and your time is over.
So the next time, you tell my skinny ass to fuck off, think twice.
Maybe #allbodiesarebeautiful will wring itself around your chest until your ribs resemble mine, but don't worry love, I'll add them to your pile.
It was strange enough to feel like love, when you held my stomach
with a kindness or a desire or a vague disinterest.
But now, you're gone,
and I trace my stretch marks
until I fall asleep.
Hold my body. Don't flinch
Christine M. Estel
The curvy, ivory canvas is now splatters of purple and gray, dipping and twisting.
It's a Jackson Pollock
Of guilty pleasures and teeter-tottered self-care,
anxiety and depression.
Of the two fruits it bore in the labor of love, making every stroke perfectly placed in the mess.
When I wank I think of myself
Dancing wet under stage lights
An audience of baffled exes
Not allowed to look away
This lavender blood boils inside me
And I love that.
I am vanilla bean coffee cream;
This is to say that nothing
Can stop me once I start to love me.
Body Hair Don't Care Anywhere and Everywhere
No matter how much feminist theory
I read, it’s there. I can even tell you
here, on this page, the ways
I have learned to find beauty in
all the flaws and crooked bits. But still,
in the quiet, secret shadows of my mind
haunts the remnants of the girl
society taught must hate herself.
Close your door on the peddlers selling shame
Hold your rebellion under your summer sleeves
Your leg hair free beneath your cut-off shorts
Softness that shatters their old mould of “woman”
And opiates against the airbrushed world
“Fat sow,” my sister pealed, oinking like she’d choke.
In death, my rump will turn to grave soap,
Glowing waxed and clean.
Her size six, cocaine bones flaked to maggot meal.
"I went through every form with you."
"Well certainly not EVERY form?"
"Yeah sure, but still a lot of them, just look at me, just look at you,
the way that I am holding
all your years and shapes,
I ran my fingers over her, that mellow, time-worn surface. "How would you
like it if I did that thing –"
"I'm serious, you need to stop expanding and deflating me
and settle on some middle ground
"You know that's not my call to make."
I let her get on top of me; we reached into our skull.
Skin Back Talking
Grace Alice Evans
gone are the days / through which i wrecked the substance / the bone and cartilage becoming viscera / lining my soul-less body / enveloped in the cataclysm of oncoming nonexistence / i am now enduring / learning how to put myself back / atom by atom / to occupy spaces beyond the liminal.