Recognition

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.