Hollins University, Roanoke, VA, USA
Self-Portrait as Chronic Illness
Piecing Her Body
Today she is taking her body back.
A lioness, she walks from apartment to house, collecting pieces of her, some hidden,
some forgotten in the couch crevices, on the nightstand, behind the back door.
Each time someone claimed her hips too big, face too hairy, breasts too small
she is taking it back with the power of a thousand ants, the dedication of a magnet.
She doesn’t have to look far: bits of her worth are scattered all over her family home,
stuffed in blanket covers, spit out fresh at the dinner table.
She picks up parts of her body—undermined, underappreciated and all things under—
dusts them off from foreign opinions and returns where they belong.
Within, she starts a fire from shame & hiding, sharp-voiced and determined, scissoring
stereotypes, dodging hypocrisy like it is finally that bitch o’clock and she is not rescheduling.
In the mirror, she splits atoms all over her being, colonies of acceptance
and loving energy sliding down her stomach and thighs.
Today she is taking her body back. And tomorrow. And the day after.