body manifesto | Tufts Observer
Poetry & Prose

body manifesto

I thought I was ready

so I put my wheels to the asphalt and 

pushed off

halfway down the hill I feel panic rise in me like bile

too fast, too fast, too fast

why didn’t I learn how to slow down?

knowing one notch in the gravel could send me flying,

I throw myself to the side with abandon

radically overestimating my body’s abilities

skateboard careening into oncoming traffic

without me

not a blade of grass in sight

the concrete breaks my fall

rips a hole in my favorite pants

linen, purple and white checkered like a picnic blanket

skinned knees and scraped-up palms

such childhood injuries

I used to be careless with my body in a way that always scared my mother

an unathletic child, walking through the world

with no awareness of her surroundings

(on purpose)

I broke bones just sitting still, my mom liked to joke

my body is a litany of scars and scabs and bruises

it’s hard to take care of something you hate

this time I don’t cry

just deflate

I am the kindest to my body right after I inflict harm upon it

gently swipe an alcohol wipe across the gooey, raw surface of bloody exposed flesh

the sting grounds me

this feels like church

consecration, sacrifice, worship, atonement 

ritual 

I don’t trust myself very much

I don’t listen to my body enough

most of the time I intentionally tune her out

ignore her cues

eat, sleep, stretch, repeat

but then I remember how nice it feels to sit down after a really long walk

to feel the vibrations of the pavement in your legs as you skate

your softest clothes trapping your own body heat, making you sleepy 

the feeling of eating something spicy that clears out your sinuses 

cracking your back first thing in the morning

cracking the spine of a book to smell its pages 

I think that maybe 

my body isn’t a litany of injuries

but a litany of sensations

I think that maybe

if I listen closely enough 

she’ll tell me that she loves me

and I will say it back.