You’re a man with too many ribs.
Your body remembers that garden, the grass,
the nakedness. Now you live in the dark.
This is what we mean by the weight of living: darkness thrust upon the body
until all you think is
Thank God that we
There are languages you couldn’t speak in Eden. The body
is one we’ve all forgotten,
so you’re trying to relearn, rib by rib. You’re entitled to that
You’re fluent enough to finish this.
You can’t tell anybody,you say.
It’s a hallowed refrain.
It’s what we rememberit’s all that remains
We are born from ruins and empty, unmarked graves;
We’ve raised the dead again.
Let’s agree to disagree
about where we see this going
We can avoid our reflection in mirrors, Dress up like killers, and bury our bodies a decade too soon.
Without the language
to say Fuck,
We borrow Love
and bring it back the next morning.
Stolen ribs kick and shove in your chest
until you hear their intimate groans even less.
You call it progress.
Confess that this darkness
is what’s beating blood back through your head.
A rib cuts through the blackblue blood and can hardly look at you.
This is what we mean
by the weight of living: being born from a man’s chest after learning his language.
Learning well enough to critique it, then learning not to speak it
and relearning just to sneak it from the corners
of sewn shut mouths.
You ask what we saw in you.
It’s just that there’s a war in you, a violence with no name here yet.
You’re a body in a bomb shelter. You colonise,
Blood on thighs, and it’s never yours.
You trample our modest leaves to the ground then leave what you found
and lodge another borrowed rib in tight. We still call it Love out of spite.
Illustration by Poppy Elizabeth Boys-Stones