The Body
by Bronte Geitz

(2023 Poetry Slam Competition 1st Place Winner)


I am not a metaphor, but there is a place in my heart which holds the memory of my first scream.
There is one in yours too, a small indentation which frames the moment your heart became a house, where one room became many, and built itself from wound sink breath.
My heart is an echo chamber of screaming, darkly framed, as each reverberation teaches my veins a conversation of wanting.
I take up capillary space in my own mistake of thinking I could love you.

I am not a metaphor, but my stomach is a sarcophagus to all the things I have desired and have weighed me down.
It is a pot belly, spare tire, well-padded, spanx caress, gutful that I cannot, ironically, stomach.
But I have always loved yours.
I digest this wanting, a symptomatic echo rumbled into hunger to think that your love could save my belly from its hatred.

I am not a metaphor, but my thighs have summoned storms and when they slap it is a warning to sailors.
Have you ever tried to silence thunder? To capture cellulite gladness in a jar, or to prevent the spilling over of a dance?
These thighs are the bubbles of a soda poured too quickly, breaking forth against a denim cup.
I thought your lips could teach them kindness.

I am not a metaphor, but my skin is a paragraph carved with new beginnings.
A scar is not a loss, but proof of new formations found, designed by being present in the pain.
I wanted to know the stories written on you.

I am not a metaphor, but my lungs have stretched for love and sighed like poetry escaped into a sacrament.
A mumbled prayer converting words to flesh ignite, teaching life to rhythm out each breath, measuring my capacity to hold.
These lungs have stopped at the sight of you.

I am not a metaphor, but I once wrote that if love is just a ghost how will he teach me his haunting?
You taught me this.
I am a body which feels eloquence enough in being part of the madness of living, limber blessed and beating.

That I am a body, unloved and adored in turn, and I do not need your love to bless me.

My body loved you.
But that is just a metaphor.