By Markita Naomi Schulman
Isn’t that a kind of orange?
Some breed of delicate clementine
or a part of all citrus, like the pith, the exocarp, the pedicel, the rind.
Grafted together on a stretching tee, branches strain,
juice stains the sidewalk and mixes with pigeon shit,
navels split open.
My mother’s is so deep and cavernous, I can push my finger into it for a very long time
I squeeze to get a better look but it is dark dark no matter what.
The bath water is warm
I drink it down and my belly expands and protrudes, I am full with the scolding I will receive.
Mine is an outie
But not like Jane’s, which is like a worm in an apple if the apple were flat as a board, she is stiff and upright and wears a two-piece. She shows me in the shower at the public pool where they have the breast cancer self-exam drawings and I wonder if they have different drawings with different tests in the men’s and I don’t know if she should be embarrassed.
In the backseat my grandmother presses her thumb against mine and says “Same” and they are,
like little toes.
Wide nail bed
wrinkly knuckle, mine like hers
chewed down to almost the quick.
I bite my nails and spit out the imperfect crescents, find them later between couch cushions
I pull until I almost but usually do not
When I found out lesbians kept their nails short, as a rule
as a cliché
as a punch line
like the moving van
then I was the way I was supposed to be, not gross or something, I had a reason for this bad habit, it was all ingrained in me, I don’t know which came first
the nail biting or the sexual deviance
but they go well together.
is muscle and nothing but, he wants me to watch him do handstands with the lights low.
I think if I were paying I would think he was wasting my money but I have a coupon so I do child’s pose until I am almost asleep, until he has us get down down
I have not done this before and my “hips
it doesn’t hurt me at all actually it is a new pleasure and I am aware of it.
But then I am crying fluidly, leaking on my stinky mat
I am holding this pose
I keep at it
it is eons, it is millennia and I am weeping like a sore quietly quietly but if I were alone
it would fill the room
I would be gigantic.
The Internet confirms that we are witnessed by our musculature, each body part linked to a feeling more than physical.
A classmate has the map stuck to her refrigerator
shin splints of self-reproach
wrists rigid inflexible
right foot’s dorsum fearful frightened terrorized
and there’s trauma! Coiled hissing scaly in the hips
Did I tighten like a fist in a single night of sleep with eyes open
or was childhood misalignment an omen, have I always walked clipped
faking feminine fluidity