NAKED BODY

Lungs become steam

Clouding out mouth

Raining down mirror,

Window, leaves of reaching houseplants

Spread calmly, greenly as a forest.

My body is full of lavender,

Like the canvas pouches my grandmother

Would bring back from France.

We had our baths at her house

And she’d hold a sea-sponge at the top of our spines

And sigh over our French-ladies’ necks,

Then Grandad would clip our nails.

I made up a heaven for my little sister

That existed down the drain-

It was where all the bubbles popped,

And toys lost went.

I don’t know how we forget our bodies so easily,

How we resist the landscapes that settle there.

Fields of lavender, and garlic leaves,

Cliff faces and rock pools.

Our grandparents let my sister eat

Crab sandwiches, and I remember not figuring

How that white meat came from such stubborn shells

With sharp limbs and pincers

I alone was brave enough to hold at the beach.

This is why I’m never apologising for my body,

Never letting my food swirl down the drain, half-digested-

Nakedness should be spilling;

A yolky splitting into tactile curiosity;

A wriggling mollusc thing with feelers

And the comfortable wetness of a baby chewing on its own

Fist with determined gums.

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