It carries

Victoria Cadostin

New York City, New York, USA

This body, it carries 

a light 

expansive and regal 

it carries, 

a spirit that does not yet trust in its 

divinity 

This body, 

that knows no internal 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, frozen 

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 the ties that bind her feet 

to a country that 

is not her own and 

does not want her 

This body, it carries 

a nose for caribbean spices, 

for her grandmother’s cooking 

and the way nothing will ever taste as good as the way di ri and sauce pwa and legume tastes when it’s hand-mixed by pudgy, time-worn fingers and scooped up to 

awaiting lips 

This body, it carries 

recipes written in the skin 

never documented anywhere but her mother’s kitchen, passed down like memories 

served in a bowl 

This body, it carries 

a lonnnnging in the branches, 

arms 

that will always reach for home 

This body, it carries 

a heart that used to shrink to 

fit 

in other people’s palms 

and pockets, 

it carries 

organs that know how to shapeshift 

into daughter 

and best friend 

and student 

and 

and 

and 

This body, it carries 

tired bones, 

lungs 

that need practice breathing easy 

feet 

that are learning to be still

shoulders, 

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.