It carries

Victoria Cadostin

New York City, New York, USA

This body, it carries
the thought behind the
it carries,
a spirit that does not yet trust in its

This body,
that knows no cues,
knows not when to eat
knows not when it’s full,
it carries
a hungerrrr inherited from her mother’s
good going-out bustier and the way she’d hold her breath the whole night,
carefully carved
in the shape of woman

This body, it carries
a nose ring her father wept blood for
called her a whore for
forgot what daughter was, for
This body
did not belong to him

This body, it carries
nails cut short
for the pleasure of her lovers
for the way skin to skin feels holy,
feels like Religion,
feels like Prayer

This body, it carries
hands that do no hold on too tight
that know when to let go, know
when to relinquish elbows, return to the hips and
shut the door behind her

This body, it carries
coarse, dark hair home-dyed violet that
never could listen to the rhythm of a comb but
will do its own dance
pink and pretty like cotton candy in the wind,
more free than she could ever be
to a country that

is not her own

This body, it carries
a nose for caribbean spices,
for her grandmother’s cooking
and the way nothing will ever taste as good as
di ri and sauce pwa and legume
when it’s hand-mixed by
pudgy, time-worn fingers and scooped up to
awaiting lips

This body, it carries
written in the skin,
instructions and measurements for Sunday dinner
stitched right into the lining

This body, it carries
a lonnnnging in the branches,
that will always reach for home

This body, it carries
a heart that used to shrink to
in other people’s palms
and pockets,
it carries
organs that know how to shapeshift
into daughter
and sister
and bestfriend

This body, it carries
tired bones,
that need practice breathing easy
that are learning to be still
newly introduced to rest

This body, it carries
a girl desperate to be held by hands other than her own
This body, it carries a woman learning to be enough.