knots of it

breath drifting in front of me
while i run eastwards
down kit carson
to find the mountain
cloaked in cloud
(a shawl wrap)
jumping jacks i say on the front porch
you know what those are i ask
and demonstrate when natacha says no
an offering
of sparkling water
bubbles rising form the bottom
of the shot glass
set next to kate’s photo
i raise my own fizzing cup
to her
body burden: the accumulated total of chemical toxins
in the body, sometimes stored in fat or bone

murder by water
drowned in a toilet bowl
by a u.s. navy man in the philippines
it is a true story followed

by another true story
serial killer aprehended in indiana
seven women at least
the two identified were sex workers

the question comes up of
whether or not to mention
the trans-ness
in that bathroom in the philipines
[or the woman-ness, for that matter,
scattered throughout indiana]
(not wanting to perpetuate
the over-perpetuated narrative about trans/women
and how unsafe we/they are in our bodies)

the urge to howl
until i lose my voice
squashed by the knowledge of other humans
within earshot
this shutting down
another form losing voice

in this culture of quiet grief
we tie knots of it inside ourselves
carry them til they fray
but never come undone

i don’t know what i’d call the list
but it would refer to the shape
rage takes within this skin
how i carry it calcified
and how, though i wasn’t physically harmed,
i still flinch at the telling
i’m still assaulted by the image it conjures
abraded by the knowing

bruised by the awareness
of the trauma humans are
not only capable of inflicting on others,
but actually do – often and everywhere

the list is where i’d keep
every story of every offense to any body
(including land and water)
that i have absorbed

as if i either never believed
that something so incomprehensible
could be perpetrated against another
or because of accumulation

the knowing of violenced bodies
stored in skeleton
carried in my marrow


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