The Sun and Her Flowers (6 page)

we have been dying

since we got here

and forgot to enjoy the view

-
live fully

you were mine

and my life was full

you are no longer mine

and my life

is full

my eyes
make mirrors out of

every reflective surface they pass

searching for something beautiful looking back

my ears fish for compliments and praise

but no matter how far they go looking

nothing is enough for me

i go to clinics and department stores

for pretty potions and new techniques

i've tried the lasers

i've tried the facials

i've tried the blades and expensive creams

for a hopeful minute they fill me

make me glow from cheek to cheek

but as soon as i feel beautiful

their magic disappears suddenly

where am i supposed to find it

i am willing to pay any price

for a beauty that makes heads turn

every moment day and night

-
a never-ending search

this place makes me

the kind of exhausted that has

nothing to do with sleep

and everything to do with

the people around me

-
introvert

you must see no worth in yourself

if you find me worth less

after you've touched me

as if your hands on my body

magnify you

and reduce me to nothing

-
worth is not something we transfer

you do not just wake up and become the butterfly

-
growth is a process

i am having a difficult time right now

comparing myself to other people

i am stretching myself thin trying to be them

making fun of my face like my father

calling it ugly

starving out this premature double chin before it

melts into my shoulders like candle wax

fixing the bags under my eyes that carry the rape

bookmarking surgical procedures for my nose

there is so much that needs tending to

can you point me in the right direction

i want to take this body off

which way back to the womb

like the rainbow

after the rain

joy will reveal itself

after sorrow

no
was a bad word in my home

no
was met with the lash

erased from our vocabulary

beaten out of our backs

till we became well-behaved kids

who obediently nodded
yes
to everything

when he climbed on top of me

every part of my body wanted to reject it

but i couldn't say
no
to save my life

when i tried to scream

all that escaped me was silence

i heard
no
pounding her fist

on the roof of my mouth

begging to let her out

but i had not put up the exit sign

never built the emergency staircase

there was no trapdoor for
no
to escape from

i want to ask all the

parents and guardians a question

what use was obedience then

when there were hands

that were not mine inside me

-
how can i verbalize consent as an adult if i was
never taught to as a child

despite knowing

they won't be here for long

they still choose to live

their brightest lives

-
sunflowers

when you find her

tell her not a day goes by

when i do not think of her

that girl who thinks you are

everything she asked for

when you bounce her off the walls

and she cries

tell her i cry with her too

the sound of drywall crunching into itself

as it's beaten with her head

also lives in my ears

tell her to run to me

i have already unscrewed

my front door off its frame

opened all the windows

inside there is a warm bath running

she does not need your kind of love

i am proof she will get out

and find her way back to herself

if i could survive you

so will she

parts of my body still ache

from the first time they were touched

the art of growing

i felt beautiful until the age of twelve

when my body began to ripen like new fruit

and suddenly

the men looked at my newborn hips with salivating lips

the boys didn't want to play tag at recess

they wanted to touch all the new
and unfamiliar parts of me

the parts i didn't know how to wear
didn't know how to carry

and tried to bury in my rib cage

boobs

they said

and i hated that word

hated that i was embarrassed to say it

that even though it was referring to my body

it didn't belong to me

it belonged to them

and they repeated it like

they were meditating upon it

boobs

he said

let me see yours

there is nothing worth seeing here but guilt and shame

i try to rot into the earth below my feet

but i am still standing one foot across
from his hooked fingers

and when he charges to feast on my half moons

i bite into his forearm and decide
i hate this body

i must have done something terrible to deserve it

when i go home i tell my mother

the men outside are starving

she tells me

i must not dress with my breasts hanging

said
the boys will get hungry if they see fruit

says i should sit with my legs closed

like a woman oughta

or the men will get angry and fight

said i can avoid all this trouble

if i just learn to act like a lady

but the problem is

that doesn't even make sense

i can't wrap my head around the fact
that i have to convince half the world's population

my body is not their bed

i am busy learning the consequences of womanhood

when i should be learning science and math instead

i like cartwheels and gymnastics so i can't imagine

walking around with my thighs pressed together

like they're hiding a secret

as if the acceptance of my own body parts

will invite thoughts of lust in their heads

i will not subject myself to their ideology

cause slut shaming is rape culture

virgin praising is rape culture

i am not a mannequin in the window
of your favorite shop

you can't dress me up or
throw me out when i am worn

you are not a cannibal

your actions are not my responsibility

you will control yourself

the next time i go to school

and the boys hoot at my backside

i push them down

foot over their necks

and defiantly say

boobs

and the look in their eyes is priceless

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