by Jasmine Kiah

A poem,

For a distant lover who looked at the phone when I called but didn’t pick up

I Ironed my flesh at your feet

my Knees

Crumbled beneath my belly

Still standing straight up

Just the way you liked them

swallowed the stick in my throat

I Tried speaking

Told you about the war of my adolescence

And why I take so many showers a day

Told you his touch never left me

Do you know what is like to have someone’s skin tattooed on you?

I tried to get rid of my skin in that shower

I remember telling you

That women like me are magic

Able to hold 20 men on my tongue

Never speak of their horrors

And that I was in the pages of every

Man’s little black book

And he just hadn’t got to me yet

That God only wanted me here to discipline my body

To serve

My mouth for comfort

And my hands for cleaning up the mess

And how uncomfortable I felt knowing only

That purpose

I told you that you were the reason I was so confident now

Why I didn’t have to scratch my knees up

Or practice holding candy in my mouth

To get a man to say he loved me

I lied.

I realized just the other day that was a lie.

Begged for everything you gave to me

Told my friends that you’d do anything for me

Didn’t tell them that I was a bargain

I lied.

I lied cause it made me feel good.

Lied cause for just a moment I could think of

Myself as more than some tired knees and sore neck…

I told you that stuff, right ?

Right…

Well I meant to

I meant to…

But you never picked up

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