the world will forgive you for your sins.
you will learn to forgive yourself for them, too.
sometimes the people you think will be supportive
and sometimes others will surprise you
and you will learn the definite feeling of pleased warmth,
a sweet, crawling feeling that hums in your throat and sends glitter through your veins.
it will make you feel beautiful.
love it and it will love you.
she will never see you the way you see yourself.
she will break you heart
and leave you alone to pick up the pieces
and you will not tell your mother
and you will know it was coming all along
and you will do it anyway.
the taste in the back of your throat
is ash and dust.
you will learn to recognize it
the more she touches you
you must learn to wash it from the wineglass of your collarbones
and begin again.
the next time she pulls your hair in painful memory,
you will close your fingers around her wrist
and you will tell her never again
and you will un-learn the process
of bleaching old fire from your neck.
your therapist will tell you
that you need to build a voice
to have one,
you must believe it matters
but you will not believe her until the time comes when it is too late to speak and the chain around you neck grows heavier with each passing day.
in time you will burn it off
and though you will never rid yourself
of the scars from melting metal
your voice will stick to the backs of your teeth
until you die
and you will never be silenced again.
lipstick stains the white sheets of her bed
and the black lace cuts her circulation off at the wrists
her dark sheer tights will have runs in them
rips running down her thighs and the meat of her calves
from where they come out under her short-shorts
you must let her make mistakes
let her go
she will never realize she is beautiful
if you don't let her
and she is poisoning herself
but so are you
she will slip from your fingers
hold her closer and she will run through the gaps in your hands like water
there is no way to keep her safe
learn to love her the only way you can.
when you press bruises into the bone of your forearms
dig color into your flesh
it will be the last time you do so.
you have a reason to be better
and she waits for assurance of your well-being
do not disappoint her
she wants you to be better
and she makes you want to be better
so you will stop bleeding your wrongdoings
halt the blade's cold kiss to your skin
and it will drive you crazy
until something safe and reminiscent of home presses into your bloodstream
and you will realize that most everyone else feels that,
the one-and-whole with your body.
it will not stop the disjointed static nights
but it will be the thing that saves you in the mornings.
your hair doesn't matter.
when you cut it
the weight of feminity chips at your nailpolish
and your shoulders are lighter for it
the world will be brighter
begin to shift out of sepia tones
and it will be a while before you are not scared to cut your hair
and it will take you years to gather the courage to cut it short, short, shorter
but i promise you,
you will make it.
and it will feel good.
your family will make you feel small
and you will hunch your shoulders
curl farther into your oversized sweaters than you already were
and you will press your hands into your chest
hold your arms so tightly to yourself that you cannot breathe
and wish for a binder
because you are physically small
and they will never see you as large
with your thick tree-trunk thighs
and pinched waist
you do not hold an imposing figure
you are loud
you are loud and brash and fierce
and if you cultivate that right
you make yourself big
but your family will always make you feel scared and young and sad -
they will always make you feel small.
the first time
you are gendered correctly
you will feel like your heart is about to burst
you will feel like you're on fire,
you're burning with how happy you are,
how right it feels
and something will settle low in your gut
aftertaste of satisfaction
and you will never be the same again
constantly wishing for loveliness of respectful gendering.
i do not recognize this body
the jut of my hipbones
and the length of myself
the soft, rounded edges
and jagged points
but i hope i can joint myself into it
and shift my skin over my bones the right way
and grow safely to fit
cross your heart
and ignore your suicidal ideation
when the world is spinning
you must begin to swallow extinguisher
douse yourself in bathwater
and there will pass time, time, time,
ticking clocks and the click of digital progression
know that the earth still curves its gravity around your body
and your friends know your words
and you will be just fine.
and still whole
and still alive.
your mother will tell you
she will say you can fix the broken things about yourself
if you only pour liquid gold in the cracks to fill them up
using all the things you don't hate about your body
to build yourself anew
you will fall in love with yourself.
you will look in the mirror
and run your hands over your bare skin
and you will learn that you have slowly fallen in love
with who you are and the space you choose to inhabit.