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©2019 by Prometheus Dreaming

A Stranger Tells Me All the Things He’d Do to Me and I Just Want to Disappear, or How I Learned to Recite the Name of My Body

by Lauren Licona

the house of me was almost set on fire / again / the curved elm of my spine / the timber of my legs / hips, all flanked and cedar / how long have i spent / trying to make a home / of myself? / only for someone to mistake the glow in my window / for an act of arson / and the whole of me / for a wick / that is to say / is it too much to ask / to be warm in this body / without the expectation of burning? / and of course/ there are days i want to tear myself down with my own hands / and there are days / i forget that my body is more / than something that occupies space / is more / than a space to occupy / there are days my body forgets / how to be / a body / there are days / i wake to eviction notice on my skin / or catch a glimpse of myself in the gaze of this stranger / and see nothing but a harth / something small and finite and warm enough to use / until the blood is pumping / and my kindles are put out /

it’s days like this / i carry the tired body home / deconstruct the idea of girl as harth/ i rinse abstraction from her mouth / reach for hemlines and strip her of all metaphors / i stare / at the dimples pressed into the sacrum of her back / at her uneven legs / and the scattered borders of the birthmark on her thigh / hips full and uncracked / hands that hold and feed and love, anyway / i remind myself / THIS BODY / IS MINE / and it’s strange that this is a revolutionary act / after all / my lungs knew the ridges of my sternum / before they knew the word for “air” / and it’s hard to believe / that after two decades of breathing / i am finally saying / THIS BODY / IS MINE / THIS BODY/ IS MINE aloud

About the Author

Lauren Licona is an indigenous Latinx poet based in Boston, MA by way of Sanford, FL. Her work has been featured in Essence Literary Magazine, Raiz Magazine, and Rookie Mag. She has performed on final stage at FEMSlam 2018 and represented Emerson College at CUPSI 2019. She can usually be found procrastinating in a library or dancing with friends at odd hours, and wants you to know that it is beneficial to be tender any time you have the chance. You can also catch her on twitter: @douxrose_