For years now I have been gentling it: the occasional urge
to throttle the car ditchfirst into flames,
and instead have been going about my life

like a caged mime, pulling the invisible rope
infinitely towards myself.
Praise God for steam, its generosity

and blur, for the dark nest
of hair pulped on the shower wall.
Praise God for bellyfat, for sunscreen,

and a wedge of lemon. For another year
working my way back in time to 13,
when I was emerging, weightless and coldblooded

from the sea. A lifeform, pre-sapien, knuckling my way
through the rite of self hatred. If only you
had seen me then, before this heavy drenching,

when my hands were still full of knives
and I owned my body, riled it with sticks
jabbed through chain link,

threw rocks to domesticate the pacing
of that tusked thing.
Yet wanting came with its oceans,

life poured out as a
drink offering. I was a woman,
but barely, bewildered by need. Now

I want a dark street, a stone
on my tongue, to be as blind as Medusa.
I want harm. Stink. The sensation

of having a body without the movement.
I want something that can’t be witnessed,
something untouchable, nebulous,

like a cloud, or the current that moves within it.

Summer Barnett