Tara Shea Burke


so all my days have added up to this     I look at my body and see myself as flesh     as
something like love     as something like a life carried by pain     that fading scar on my
leg looks like the letter E     I carved it     EDNOS     during one of many long and lonely
nights with less hope a lot of cheap wine     a whole pizza down the hatch     then a mess
in the toilet     my notebooks scribbled full     how badly I wanted to be more     always
more     hardly legible     a twenty-something's hunger drawn     in blood on the page
did I know then     the only way was through     because oh how I drenched myself like a
baptism in all the pain no one outside me could hold     and here I am again alone
afraid of who I might meet     inside the dark hall of myself     so what does the body
carry now     a newly renovated home I no longer own     600 fence posts I drove and
banged into the ground under the hot desert sun     two goats I lured behind that fence
and I imagine still bleat for my hands at dawn     a life I thought was mine where her new
love lives     a relationship now only a dream I keep waking up to sweaty in the dark
legs covered in stretch marks     purple veins     so many years on my feet     a thirst like a
throb coming into my own     desire unmuted     tenacity like a canyon the river comes
through     a woman without a home     a woman who was asked without words to leave
her home     a woman's body a heartbreak     sobbing all over her new city     crying for a
love lost a new love brought in and lost too     all the old buildings knocked down around
me     gentrification next door at my door all the bodies gone     new bodies wiped clean
bodies bodies all the bodies dying around me and little old me     the same young girl
begging for a love I fear doesn't exist     no I know now     the love I want     is not
outside     I understand now why so many wanderers without homes walk around full
scream in public     stories so loud in our hearts     incessant thumps against each wall of
the body     how can anyone survive this I keep asking     and I smile at a stranger     every
cell open     hungry and sharp     so I soften my gaze     look at her and mean it     oh
stranger my broken body wants you     wants something     I cannot name     so many
books open and face-down on my chest     so we talk about something     more than the
weather     what else is living for     she asks me     and my body is water     instantly river

back to contents