TODAY I TOOK MY BODY OFF LAYAWAY by Tianna Bratcher


paid all the fees and brought it home

bought every piece back from anyone who thought they owned any of it

pried every limb from everyone I thought was entitled to it

today I called my body mine and meant it

spoke buoyancy back into my bones

floated towards a past due reclamation

today I nourished it

fed it things other than sorrow

rubbed it down in shea butter and cetaphil

touched it everywhere

traced my clit with my own fingers

tasted my juicy eminence

screamed my own name

called this pussy this pleasure

mine

thanked myself for the explosion

today I watch my smile flourish into an unforgiving forest

watch a tree sprout from my tonsils

remind myself that I can still

make life can still be alive

today my skin knows nothing of knives or razors

it still splits open but to grow my body into a house

I called my body home

for the first time in a long time I had somewhere to sleep

today I am not what happened to me

my body is not a victim or survivor

not a coffin cadaver or testimony

today my body blooms from its own ashes

I do not spring into a field of flowers

my body unties itself collapses into a calm river

dances up and down stream before it turns into an ocean

it’s understood between my body and I

not every day will be today

some days the scars will blister their way back to surface

most days being a body will be nothing to proclaim and everything to mourn

but today my body is a celebratory thing

I rename it comforting things

honey and homie and safe

TIANNA BRATCHER is a very Queer, Black Dominican woman, sister, and auntie originally from Anchorage, Alaska now residing in Oakland, California. She was a 2018 fellow at The Watering Hole. As a slam poet she has competed at NPS 2017-2018, CUPSI 2013-2016 and Brave New Voices 2014. She was a Queer Emerging Artist Resident at Destiny ARTS, 2017. Tianna uses her art to dismantle silence, interrupt cycles of abuse and trauma and to create healing processes.

<Prev <Issue> Next>