“Your Body is a War Zone”

Chris Murray, Smith College, Massachusetts, United States

My mother always told me

I hurt because there are worlds inside of me

waging wars with each other.

Make sure you’re the leader

of your own body, she said.

Kill anyone that tells you love makes women weak,

it makes us warriors.

She has always known what it means

to be a warrior,

stands up straight

so her spine looks stronger

than it is.

My mother told me bedtime stories

about all the men that tried to break her,

ending each one with:

it’s okay, there is a reason hurricanes are named after women.

My mother told me

the first time I cried for you,

all cracked lips

from the drought inside my mouth,

missing you–

the world will make sure

my body is only seen as a time-bomb

waiting to make men explode,

she told me

to make sure they tell you you’re

beautiful first,

but understand

they are the inventors of the bomb,

they think destruction is beautiful, baby,

they will try to destroy you.

But women only have “fragile” bones

so we can grow taller after they are broken,

only have penetrable skin

so we can take everything in

and learn all the weaknesses of the world,

we were monsters long before you

romanticized the idea of men as monster,

we will destroy you.

We are warriors,

waging wars with you

inside ourselves,

because you

have been turning our insides

into metal for years.