An ivory head
cut clean and chiseled, crammed full of highway street smarts
smoothening the traffic of the senses.
It sits straight on the spine
made up of countless women’s cartilages,
a lumbar trail for the uninitiated,
stepped and compressed
to compensate for that extra rib.
Pelvis juts out in calcified defiance,
taunting anyone to a test of strength
tries to hide its soft parts within its sharp edges
honed by years of fear for an unknown intruder
that might just be herself.
All these weight are shouldered by these thighbones
trained to hold the added baggage
that my upper extremities refuse to put down
(I still had room for another pound in my heart).
I am proud of my home.
have built this self to stand tall,
strong in itself, strong on its own
A bedrock amidst the shifting sand.
But like all houses unfazed by summer storms,
mine begins to simmer inside.
A spark of lightning at the base of the skull
creeps a long way down to my spine.
It lingers at my loins,
feeds at my thighs
until my body roars to an uncontrollable furnace
a never dying pyre for the self.
It gnaws at its marrow
My body is a bundle of fire wood-
a cruel insurance policy
in case of these internal emergencies.
Build your house with the sweat of your brow,
pay in blood when it burns down.
Remind me again,
What do dwellers do when their house wages war against them?
When the body betrays itself?
When elements crusade to convert
materials into beings
and beings into materials-
who should arbitrate on the matter?
My first ‘amen’
was probably breathed from
the heavy smell of a rising tempest
What used to be a tell-tale for refuge
Becomes a fragrance that lures
the self to strip naked,
to provocatively dance on fire,
to open windows and doors
and to surrender to the hurricane
allowing the tide to wash these bones away.
My house becomes a wreck- floats for
all the things I slowly let go of
as waves lap at all open wounds
salting bruises, cleansing pores,
dissolving all in the whirlpool of unlikely grace.
Sometimes what it takes to get out is to give in-
to rely on strangers,
or even storms
and believe that
these pride-nourished bones
will continue to drift on.