I took my pulse
To my childhood home
To expose it to old smells.
I breathed into the spirometer
Checking for my capacity
To contain the world inside.
I left your thermometer of happiness
Under my tongue for too long:
It has dissolved
And the mercury is leaking.
I guess I’ll never know how
I am doing.
I took an oral history
By talking to myself
And clarifying the words that I didn’t
Could I repeat that last part?
And how long has this been going on?
I tried to measure myself
To know who I am,
To have a language to express it to others.
But the numbers have failed me
And I am left with broken instruments
And healing bones.
Of course I am spinning around
in my own little circle, but why
can’t I stop?
I can’t see
the world around me.
It does not keep up with my speed
Like my hands
Which I see clearly (spinning with me).
But the world, a blur.
Let me slow down
And see my reflection
And breathe in sync with her lungs.
I had a small doll once
(With silvery blue hair)
And her hands were sewn together
To make a loop for her knees
To tuck into.
She would sit there and hug herself
And that is all she did.
It’s not your fault that you told me to go on a diet when I was 7. It’s not your fault that you told me I looked 4 months pregnant after a holiday meal. It’s not your fault for yelling at my mom for eating 3 grapes after dinner. It’s not your fault that you look me up and down when I come home, checking to see that I am still skinny and within your standards.
It’s my fault for remembering.
You tell me to take myself less seriously.
On our last night you asked me
What I didn’t like about my body.
I got frustrated
(Too many things to list)
Why would anyone ask that?
You wanted to kiss all the parts
I didn’t like
Until I would like them.
So I named a few parts
And you put your head under the sheets
And kissed them until I fell asleep.
Today I want to tell you
Which parts I don’t like
(The parts my father pointed out to me)
But you aren’t here to kiss me any longer.
(Let me heal myself)
I tie my fingers together to look lucky.
The bones are soft,
I am here and yes,
I just noticed
that I am.
I am softer than my bones,
I am full.
Returning, I try
to twirl into my body,
I am tumbling through my internal organs
Looking for a sweet
enough to cushion my own punches
I bounce from wall to wall and from tissue to t-
Unable to internalize my own self
Unable to integrate into my own being
Smoothly enough that I might feel whole,
Quickly enough that I might not get lost