by Olivia Comm
Hey you, yes— you:
remember when you’d eat
until entirely full, never worried
with how it may shape your body?
Before ruined underwear, you
know, you from the beginning:
woods-playing, hair slicked back,
crooked teeth that you didn’t notice.
I think you recall the days
of you flat-chested and muddy
from digging the earth.
Don’t look away. I know you miss it.
You mourn your boyhood. Say it!
We were all boys until we became girls
and the boys got to stay boys. Good.
Yes, we can allow ourselves some envy—
they walk through life unburdened
with new heaviness, delighted to study a change
in the mirror and know it reflects no shift in gut.
Lean into your jealousy. Dip into it.
Open it from the mouth, hands
between the upper and lower teeth
and rip it apart until the blood
you know so well doesn’t seep out
but pours and think, ah, yes, who better
to handle this than I: Expert in My Own Blood,
who makes and makes and makes
with my insides. You can certainly tackle
some resentment! You—who can at any time
choose to treat a squeamish man
to your body, watch his miniscule eyes
widen, for fun, show his frame what it is
to split open your own flesh, knowing
you could create something new
or recognize your body’s spared
shedding—should feel no bitterness
towards those who beg for blood-draw
and sensation by picking fist fights.
The men can keep that intimacy
with their outsides. Let’s us, me and you,
keep familiarity with our innards. I mean—
if tomorrow that force in your core explodes,
rips the skin from your body, won’t you
look down at your mangled carcass, dripping
tendons and think you’re suited for the job
of witnessing this bloody sight? To identify
our shelled bodies, should the morgue
not call our ghosts?
About the Author
Olivia Comm is a writer and middle school English teacher living in New York City. She holds a B.A. in Media Studies from the University of Virginia, where she focused on film, theater, and poetry writing. Her work has been published in The Virginia Literary Review and Runestone Literary Journal. Her one-act play was produced by UVA's New Works Festival in 2017. She is currently a reader for Passengers Journal.