My back, shell-sharp curve, my thin wrist bone
Limbs that do not twitch beyond the digits
Illustrate terror, the randomness of damage
Right lung so different from left
Thrust forward, fuller-breathed
Its more delicate mate shrunken
Adjusting to a smaller, collapsing cage
Brief breaths, bent bones
Muscles weak as water, still as sleeping stars
Monster mine, monster body
One I would not trade
Not Shelley’s “hideous phantasm”
Just parts made from imperfect materials: sinew, scar
Cells, fluid, fat, and heart
Still I roar when burned by exile
Mobs swinging angry torches through stone streets.
Stubborn flesh threat of frail menace
Vulnerability shocking as violence
Dangerous, I carry
Secrets in my castle, fainted women in my healing search
Empathy repatriates me.
I take this shape, my body
Monster body mine
By my body I journey,
I learn, I love.
It is my lens, my light.