Reclamation of Lover + Self

There’s a piercing in my navel.

Deep blue. I got it and I hate my

stomach less. I got my tattoo

(you haven’t seen it yet,

but it’s on the edge of

my right hip, had it

done in the dark

by this man in

New Orleans)

for the same reason:

I needed to see if I could be

a vessel for beautiful things

I love to eat. Can’t tell you why.

My clothes from high school

don’t look the same, don’t make

me feel warm and sexy the way

they used to

(it doesn’t help that I eat

cinnamon toast crunch

with soft serve vanilla

ice cream. But don’t

kid yourself--- that stuff

slaps, hits me in my gut

in the most faithful of ways)

But I call myself woman now.

And I don’t have my head

cocked, arms locked,

waiting for my parents

to stop loving me.

(I’m growing,

I promise. I’ll probably never say

the n-word, but there’s no darkness

in being black. I know that now.

(When you come again,

and I know you will,

we should go to the mountains.

I’ve been waiting for you a long

time. There are lots of trees,

but there are animals, too,

and they’re fluffy and big eyed---

easy to love)

No need to bring a coat.

I’ve been sitting with

in the abyss of fire and


(I really like it, it doesn’t hurt.

It’ll keep us warm)

Grace Morse