By: Sophie Esther Ramsey

The day I fell out of love with my body—
my capsule,
my shrine—
weakness gnawed away at the palms of my hands,
dissatisfaction consumed my waist,
and comfort withered away like the skin I picked at
and night.

I saw nothing beyond every faded imperfection,
each accidental smudge.
I conjured paintbrush after paintbrush
and each one into a new shade of perfection
(or so I thought)
so that I could paint myself away
into oblivion,
along with the mounts of unwanted stains,
invisible to all but I.

I tasted water and air;
I tasted absence.
Each sweet tooth decayed,
then decomposed,
each tastebud dispersed.
Sweet maple syrup and bitter chocolate,
the comforting aroma of butter and toast;
hardly a memory,
but a repulsion.
And yet…
Their absence was the only sensation that my mouth could identify,
could bare.
And for a while,
I fell in love with empty solace and sour dead ends.

My body:
A blanket, a clutch, a dirty word.
I used to come back to her skin—
desolate land and terraneous waves. 
The tenderness of a lion’s mane to remind myself of what I could never lose;
the only thing I was sure I wouldn’t lose:
my birth right.
She was the pretty, plain shell that enclosed my soul’s pearl to her clutches.
I loved her and
took care of her
until I didn’t anymore.
What was I thinking?
To fool her when I was the fool.

as winter cascaded my flesh and bones in the blistering cold—
a dry, desolate, rhymeless force—
she counteracted midnight snow storms with the perseverance of spring.

To forest fires that quickened my blood
in searching attempts to leave not only my conscience
but my bones barren,
my body responded with the balance of October rain.

The misinformed obtrusion
of a darkness
festooned with cowardice
in a coat of errored honestly,
the weakness of its tattered, leather gloves,
black and with malicious intent,
an attempt to obliterate a light
painted with that same,
dim brush at the hand of a liar,
an attempt to exterminate the internal imagination this luster ignites…
An internal imagination I thought was
An attempt,
a mere attempt that faltered
into the freshness of a blank page,
and the fire that rattled my bones
and birth,
the day my body
first met the roughness of Earth.
It illuminated a whole new room of hope
that I so thoughtlessly ignored.

I tried everything to separate my soul
from my body.
I tried everything to shrink myself to suffice my bones in
tightly bound strings
like a miniskirt I so desperately wished would
outgrow me.

But in the mirror one day,
I woke up to find myself
still wearing my skin intact,
despite every sleepless night I spent
tearing it apart.
Shocked, to see that my body had not given up on me.
That she recognized me,
that she stuck around this long.
Appreciative of her stubbornness.

A draft came in and I felt a chill.
I smelt baking dough from the kitchen,
tasted hot coffee in the morning,
this time.

As I felt the awakening of new roots at the souls of my feet,
petals and thorns hugging my wrists
I fell in love with my body—
my capsule,
my shrine—
all over again.