I learn my body by the tremors of the undertow,
Feel it crawl into me — my body shakes,
As though to say if I must ever be torn,
Let it be here, by this light, This hand.
You are not the first woman to burn in your discovery.
My body curls into itself, fingers fall to dust,
Scared girl hides in the ashes — here,
You witness the return to flame.
I learn my body by the way it wants to burn
Until I am what will never burn,
The way I take my bones
and make them something
I can learn to love,
Scared girl spins in gasoline, returns to prayer,
Here is my breath, here are my lungs,
Here is the smoke wrapped
Around my entirety.
I learn to hold my body, call it