The red hue of my cheeks falters, I am floating alone

Water condenses on my pores, like the breasts of new mothers,

The body that has not been touched in a week

Nursed into submission by ceramic tile and factory soap.

 

My body taught me everything I need to know about living

Except how to die.

 

I hold back retching with steamboats,

The factory line pumps grease into my veins.

I swell to absorb the room, then shrink

To bones wrapped in a towel

Like a cocoon that shattered too soon.

 

Yet I survive amidst the factory line and its failures

Where hot oil burns white flesh

And does not call it a mistake.

 

I am not clean, boiling in the dirt of last week,

The tub grows murkier with memories,

My skin fades under it.

 

The factory line has begun failing.

 

The poetry on my skin, swirls of soapy matter

Takes no concrete form,

It only looks like liquid air

It looks like my body decorated in song,

Wrapped in melody.

 

I do not know how I can think I am beautiful

Without seeing a body

For what it is.

 

The factory line resumes.

 

The Rape Language:

can be spoken loudly, the two legs of the female –

quotation marks circling his back. the curl of ten

toes.

it seems as if someone should be speaking,

with the movement. she tries. everything

is heavy. the words fall like misplaced moans

into croaks, he can only hear

the bodies.

 

can be spoken softly, slurs and giggles. a gasp –

but only that – when suddenly a mouth is wet

with another

the sky is drunk, like her, like

God, like anything that walks by

while a man

fucks

something limp.

 

October 10, 2017

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