Who taught you
that you were trouble?
Who taught you
that this is a bad thing?
Who said
you were less
an anchor,
and more cinder blocks
on men’s feet?

Who teased
the words
from your mouth?
The, “I’m sorry”
and the
if it’s convenient
for you?”
Prefaces drip
from your chin
as you cup
your hands
in anticipation

Every day that you
you wrists grow
more brittle.
They taught you
how to mend
the scabs
created by
the constant
nail chewing,
but they did not
teach you
that the taste
of your skin
is poisonous.
Do not
devour your
Do not
swallow your
Push from your belly.
Open your throat.
Who taught you how
to keep it on
low notes?
You may feel dull,
but you deserve

The way the sun
blanches the walls
in your tiny apartment,
sinking its warmth
deep into your ribs
when the night
was coldest.

The smell of freshly
dried sheets.
Your grandmother’s


You are worth
even more than that.

A childhood afternoon
under the canopy
of a gnarled
your arms in a triangle
above your head,
bony elbows
tangled in stringy
Nothing else.
A breath.
That’s it.
You can’t
teach that.


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