draw blood

I’ll tell you the truth

that no one else will:

the thing itself

did not hurt as much

as the reality of not being

believed.

No ache compared.

No crucifixion was ever good

enough. They nailed my wrists

to any structure they could find,

Liar, liar, you will never know.

I will never know

their pain, I know nothing

of my own.

I know broken glass streaming

down the sciatic nerve,

feeling my heartbeat

between my teeth. Can you?

Stick your finger in my mouth

if you think it would prove

anything. Ignore the tears

should they touch your hand.

Gag me. Pry my mouth open,

say ah. Go ahead,

all the doctors have.

Press here: the space between

ignore the screaming.

Do not catch me when I pass

out.

If my body were a temple after

all, would you love it?

Would you pull my hair

out of my face during the fever?

So even then

if my body were holy,

you would not love it.

How could anyone

touch a kneecap tenderly?

I have hidden in

every hospital gown.

My body crumbling, in the squatted

position. Hold the world

above my head, while my mouth

cracks open.

Surgical scars,

fire lines on the inside to

stop the controlled burn. There will never

be another bathing suit.

Not enough silverware

in my kitchen drawers. No child

will ever grace my womb. My children

were never mine. They were the ghosts

I visited with when

under anesthesia. Their faces

look like the other side

of closed eyes.

You will never

know. Even if I wanted it

I would never have it. It matters

not to anyone but me. This loss

I found. Ten fingers, ten toes,

a head full of hair

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LYDIA A. CYRUS is a writer and activist living in Indiana. Some say she rides a broom stick, she says that’s hearsay. She loves a good thunder storm and poetry.