i give you little flashes as a warning and as a tale spun by something even i don't know

let me tell you a story about the marks on my body. 

my bone structure is shifting and disjointed, 
a breathy rattling at night when the sky is dark and the world is quiet
but my skin stretches my history over my frame 
and tells me, i will not let go 

even though my marrow whispers that it is the only thing
that will be my constant companion

but here, 
here is the twining myths sunken into my flesh, 
the stories and thinly remembered pasts of it. 

i. 
the first time i noticed 
that my inner thighs were spattered with 
thunderbolting, silver-blue jagged stretch marks, 
i stared and hated my body. 

and then came the delicate self-love, 
fragile strands twisting into the textured soft skin
because people make positivity posts about them
and if someone thinks that they're worth loving, 
then they are not my enemy,
then i can learn to breathe gunpowder from my stretch marks. 

ii. 
the scars, 
these ones at least, 
are natural. 

wear-and-tear of childhood, i promise, 
no foul play to be found 

the thick, faintly curved one that my cat gave me, 
the one on my knee from dropping a glass on it, 
i have the normal ones that everyone has

iii.
freckles, a nearly-invisible light orange
splay themselves across the bridge of my nose 
spreading underneath my eyes 

and they reach around the backs of my shoulders, 
tiny galaxies imprinted onto my skin

like the larger ones that dot my body 
ones i used to play connect-the-dots with as a child, 
stars studded into the sky of my flesh

iv. 
and comes the last ones, 
of course they are bound to make their way eventually. 

cuts crosswise across the twin ridges of my hips, 
healing ones in a group of twenty pressed to the inside of my foot 
circle of color that hasn't disappeared ringing around my ankle
with the bloody crescents left from my fingernails smearing crimson across my flesh 

these are the tales i carry - 
there are more, of course, 
there are always more, 
but these are those that i chose to share. 

let me tell you, 
if nobody else has, 
that your body is lovely and wonderful and beautiful - 
and it deserves all the love you can give it. 

this is the skin you live in, 
a special armour built just for you. 

treat it well, 
treat yourself well. 

The End

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