By Caitlyn Alario
my abuser too could inhabit my mind.
sometimes it felt we shared it together, my
grey matter containing those secrets i kept
even from myself—
scooped like a spoonful of my great-grandmother’s
orange & marshmallow jell-o, jiggling &
uncertain on the bed of my tongue. see, she’d
prompt me, it was there
all along. my wrongness was obvious, my
sin unoriginal. she created small
cubbies for my faults to live in, & if i’m
honest, it was nice
letting someone else think for me sometimes (though
mostly it was cramped & confusing & i’d
have to lie down & be still a while). i
found some comfort in
emptying myself of all affect—comfort
in the whistling void of self-abandonment.
once, i used to touch myself without shame, traced
the same five-pointed
star into my palm, my chest, my bellybutton,
repeating the motion like an invocation—
each part accounted for, anointed. here are
we, lord. take & eat.
Caitlyn Alario is a queer poet from Southern California. A Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas, her work has appeared in Third Coast, Vallum Magazine, Annulet, and elsewhere.
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