My grandmother grew up in a tribe where the men had to walk
all the way into the ocean before even holding a woman’s hand.
In my childhood the winters were so deep the snow went over my head
when I walked outside, the snowflakes forming a language
between the layers of my skin that could be translated
into a single word: home. Even now I wonder at what point a person
becomes a new person- when half their cells are replaced,
or at a point before that? Will I ever be the same person I was
when I longed to be buried beneath the snow?
For some strange reason even today, even at nineteen,
I dip my toes in the nearest body of water before looking at a man,
let alone slipping him my number. In bed when I lay my head on his chest,
I swear I can almost hear the waves crashing against the walls
of his stomach. If there were a time machine that would allow
the participant to fast-forward to their own death,
I would be the first to press the green Go button.
No, it’s not technically suicide if I don’t leave a note.
I just want to be the type of person my grandmother
would have been proud of, the type of person I will never be,
no matter how many of my cells are replaced.
I don’t think I can write again.
Stringing words together carries the same kind of shame that looking you in the eyes after what you did to me does.
Maybe it’s better if I refuse to pick up the pen.
Women are not towns nor ships nor territory. We
Cannot be conquered, invaded, and taken over.
We were not designed to be walked over or
Trudged through with heavy boots. Women are
Not poems. We were not born to be read over and
Over to fulfill your need for some form of deeper
Understanding. We are not worn-out metaphors
Or truths waiting to be discovered. We are not
Breaths or heartbeats or body parts to be desired.
We are not a we.