Portrait of a Modern Woman
when I come out the womb, my body
is already a war zone. they cut me
from my mama's belly
blue in the face & refusing
only after I start to cry
& my parents exhale their terror
do they name me daughter, a word
synonymous with subordination &
possession — a thing
to be tamed.
I know my body
like I know my country: ancient
brown, & crumbling
at the borders.
I am a citizen of neither.
so here I am again
a baby bird caught in a thunderstorm
seeking respite at your feet.
fill my hunger with your body.
fill my body with your hunger.
I eat your desire while it is still bloody
will never sustain me
but I can't help it: I am small
& desperate to be fed.
This poem, like many others I've written, deals with my tumultuous relationship with my body. As a queer person of color, I often feel like my body does not belong to me because of the ways it is racialized, gendered, and sexualized. This poem is my way of trying to reclaim my body as my own.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.