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My spine, rib cage, and pelvis all
have to be from different bodies.
My femurs are definitely my own, 
as well as my knees. But not my
shoulders.

My hands are my mothers, 
but my jawline is mine. 
I don't know about my wrists.

The aching inside of each of my hips, 
I have to own that one. I don't own
the back of my neck or my ankles.
I've been trying to decide about
my calves, some days the answer
is yes, others no.

If I could see inside of my ears, 
I might like them more. But for now, 
I focus on my lower back; 
the muscles mine, the bones a stranger.

The hollow under my ribs is recent
so it certainly is from else where
but it seems to be at home.
The extra length of tail bone
I've always suspected, alien. 
The creases on my stomach, mine.

Breasts, from the past. Armpits, 
reclaimed. Bottoms of my feet, 
I'll claim those, but not the tops.

The low-hum of the curve from
hip to ass, I'm sure only I can hear. 
And the crack of the sternum, too.

This skin, all of this skin, all of this
skin everywhere, foreign. There's
too much, it can't all be mine. 
Have I been stealing skin?
What do they say about seven
pounds of flesh.

The awareness of the body
is all my own while the body
itself was cobbled together.
The sounds the body makes
are from other planets, the
silence from the center of the earth.

The pain of having a body, 
the pain that lives in the body, 
the diagnosis of pain as chronic, 
a transfer.

At the middle of the night, 
the body feels grief, and tries
to grieve. The weight of the grief
belongs to the parts of the body, 
but the source is untranslatable.
The body as the force of imploding, 
but the parts of the body as spared.

The hollows above my collar bones
have always belonged to no one
else but me, but the hollows around
my hips belong to grief.

My mother made this body
from scratch, I tell myself; 
I tell myself she had help from no one.
And yet. I find the father in the
weakness of my knees, years praying. 
I find the father in the sinew.

But myself, in the strength of
my thighs, the letter writing fingers, 
the sharpness of nails.
There is a place between my
shoulder blade and spine that
belongs to ecstasy.

I don't recognize this body.

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You once said to me, that I'm the kind of person
who sticks around in someone's throat. I thought
you meant like how you can still taste coffee
hours after you drink it or how it feels watching
a new horse stand for the first time. 

I wanted to know why you always swallowed
before looking me in the eye. There's a type of
deep breath a person takes before they are
able to stare at the ocean, and I can feel your
chest swell on the nights you come over from
the beach and I find sand for days. 

You meant like in the way the sun, heavy weight, 
is an undoing burn. I get stuck in your throat and
you drink sea water looking for the moan I make
when you come up behind me in the kitchen as
I roll out dough for pastelitos and your mouth
finds my neck. 

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I ask you where you are when
you are Home & how your arms
take shape around your own body,
how you learned to build it. 
I ask you how long it took 

to get your muscles on your side, 
strong enough to carry the weight
of all the space you made while
trying to find your way back. 
You show me all the places where it

hurt to become, opening a window in
the house you grew into. I ask you
how often you move the hurt around,
a mirror in an otherwise empty room, 
always catching the light.

You tell me that lifting yourself off
the floor is how you built your strength.
That coming home means putting
your arms down at your side. 
Your slightest pause means, 

"I'm sorry, I am tired all the time,
I have a rock and a hill and another
day of moving the weight." You say,
"You can stay as long as you want. 
But stay longer next time."

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The morning after the pine trees
froze still, we woke up honey
tongued and arms wrapped smoldering,

pulling close cinders, four lung
ice ponds too thin in the middle, 
and the sound of a body going in.

The morning after you fell ice
pond through I stood chest
expanding outwards towards the 

mountain morning fog I didn't
understand but wanted to become.
Your fence post legs, my “maybe 

I should go” shoulders, all of it
laced boots, all of it the back door,
all of it slow motion ice water

limbs. No fire to bring blood back,
no warm coffee mouth, only
more pine trees froze still. 

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I am taking my sixteen year old self
as my date to our ten-year high school reunion.
I am on my way to pick her up.
She didn't recognize me
when I asked her out. 

I wanted to tell her
that she needed to stop agreeing to go out
with people so much older than her.
I wanted to tell her to make friends her own age.
Instead, I told her I'd pick her up at 7:00 pm. 
I'm having a bad influence on myself,
but I need her to hear me.

I brought her a copy of Tom Robbin's
Still Life with Woodpecker, 
because she shouldn't have to wait
five more years to learn about
blood and the moon. 
I need her to know about 2011.
I need her to hear about our mother.

The reunion is in the same ballroom
where our prom was, balanced on the edge
of the sea. Ten years ago, I wrote a spell
on a napkin for a tidal wave, an act of
god, or something to come up from
the depths of the ocean to kill us all. 

Instead, my date danced with everyone
but me and here I am now
with myself, introducing her to
people who dont rememebr
either of us. 

"What shall we do, all of us?  Us
passionate girls who fear
crushing the boys we love
with our mouths like caverns
of teeth, our mushrooming brains, 
our watermelon hearts?"

She passed me a napkin
with a spell to turn us into
glitter and blow us out the window.
We both thought it would work.
We took each other out the back door.

She ran into the ocean
arms out like the Virgin Mary
of Reckless Abandon. 

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I. 

The first time I dreamt about you,
we were in a crumbling Japan
outrunning an earth quake
& I was afraid at you, 
mad for you, when
you couldn't keep up. 

II. 

The second time I dreamt about you,
our bus had no driver. 
I knew I loved everyone
within arms reach, and
I opened every window
to let in the light. 

III. 

The third time I dreamt about you, 
it was January. You were in
my bed, and we were
naked. I was a slow-blowing
Winter wind and snow came
all over the quilt. 

IV. 

The first time you woke up
and I was near your bed, 
the moon kept me up
with her long fingers. 
You left before breakfast. 

V. 

The second time you woke up, 
I fell to the floor after
Good Morning. You took me
to bed and I spilled fever
all over your pillows. 
You cleaned it up when
you thought I wasn't awake. 

VI. 

The third time, you woke up
with me. Goat-horns and
knotted hair tangled with
my nearest body, pulling
pine needles from your
teeth, you could only see
me in motion. 

VII. 

Every time, I am a devastated
valley, calmest at dawn and
swearing I won't sleep again. 
The distance between dreams
measuring light-years of
Let Me Tell You What You Mean
To Me. 

VIII. 

Every time, you pull the Present
bare fisted, from the bottom
of the ocean, star-eyed and
ready to swallow. Eating your
Yesterdays hand over
heart. Trying to find where
they hid Tomorrow and you.

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