#PoemADay No.72: Places Where I Still Bleed


My nose, 
from that one time I got decked by a stranger because his little brother misidentified me as his bully.
I was with my little sister, and she didn't need to see my animal free itself of its fragile chains,
so I took the hit and walked away. 
That's what I tell myself anyway.

My name,
because I can't decide how I'll juggle the multilingual, alphanumeric puzzle on my birth certificate
once I slip a ring on the Mrs. and pass the juice on to my children.

My nails,
because there are those who cry and panic from stress until their heads ache,
and then there are those who never seem stressed
because they unleash their anxiety on themselves, in more destructive ways.

My knees and arms and heart and feet and chest,
because a life to breath
is apparently what my reckless body is to a wreck.

My neck,
where that cross chain dangled
as Jesus wept
from seeing His young temple
sell himself again and again,
for less and less,
to a gift
that was meant to serve
in the context of covenant.

My head, 
where I tried to make sense
of the four year's worth of a mess I made, burning bridges and building walls of brick and steel to keep out the betrayals, the spotlight,
the sloppy noise of busy bodies and queen bees, 
the expectations that came with her infatuation--
I took the road less traveled, the long way to the place in Hell where women store their scorn,
the route with the thorny bushes, the twists and turns,
I tried to make sense of how
beautifully, brutally, intuitively
I made it all burn
when all I wanted was a family.

Head still bleeding badly from trying to understand me.
Trying to crack the code but
it's cracking me
so I guess in the meantime,
I'll wear my arsonist cap with pride.

My smile,
or to be more precise,
the place where it used to reside,
where my lips used to meet and curve
until my teeth got chipped on a curb
and my lips soaked in pounds of dirt--
it was a sprinkle at first, but I fought back,
talked smack to my trials, taunted Life, told her I wouldn't die, not then, not today, 
I asked if she had anything worse for me to try, 
so she had Earth swallow me in a quake and hurricane salad
to give me time to drown in my own mistakes, 
believe my own disguise, 
forget everything that resembled the light,
and drift away until the only thing left that felt comfortable on my face
was emptiness.

My wallet,
from that time I let them convince me
that a piece of paper
(still in its cylinder case 11 months later)
was worth the 50K's worth of debt.
I played myself. Now they wanna know what's next--maybe an MBA?
Fool me twice, shame on me. 
I'll grab a book and a Google search and do what I do best:
think for myself.

My buttcheeks,
'cause sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day
most definitely ain't for me.

My memories,
where I continue to wait patiently for amnesia to set me free.

My throat,
which has started to break and unravel
from the strain of jokes
that no longer hide the rope marks
on the trees, on Billy's palms, in-between my vocal folds,
and the strain of the choke,
and the strain of using my last words to remind those
said to protect and serve--at least other shades of folk--
that I can't breathe.

--No.72: Places Where I Still Bleed


Cover Photo by Hailey Kean on Unsplash