I was six years old. I didn’t fear the dead, fear birthing, its muscle strain and press. The loss that it implies. My six-year-old body did not produce sweat that stank, hair, blood. As a black child I didn’t know about my dangers in being.
To make a cast of that first body, I’ll flint, become kiln, grow bone bulbs out of old trauma. This is a gorgeous spell that’s never worked, but I keep lighting, sowing, hatching flame. To call back all of my lost parts, I dress in baby hair, talcum, calamine, cottons.
I used to skin my knees and pick the scabs and eat them. I’d pet the sweet pink new skin, uncovered. How lucky I was—seeing ruin in my body and only giving tender hands. To know scar as resurrected skin and to give them my devotions.
My body was plastered in black and red freckles, hair like stitching, cracked rivers of skin. This has not changed. These parts still make my body and yet, it’s been made not my own by other’s just enough that sometimes I look at it unacquainted.
I wish I could sleep like I did. The greedy way I spread myself in a bed, arms and legs splayed. Unafraid for taking space and using it. I used to be unwakeable, a heavy weight against my pillow, wet with spit.
My body had capacity. My legs kept me awake at night, growing. Bone stops making a way for itself—I am no longer this expanding thing, opening up and towards. What conjure can you make for that. Not needing height, but wanting my body to gesture towards some other future.
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