I remember the thirst for your acknowledgement
etched at my throat and the acid
burning from ulcers I hadn't
poisoned my teeth with
my tongue is still taut and folded
at the base-
"girls are seen, not heard,"
I was so eager to listen
for the next order, the next parliamentary
speech on modesty
as if a mother's fear had taught me nothing
and a father's silence didn't make
through the attic of my chest.
you waited for my prostration -
me at my holiest to inspect my body
for foreign touch - and lit every hair
out of its designated place
puberty was streamlined and nulled
to meet your prerequisites but my tongue
that sullen, loose demon you tried
so hard to exorcise still bit
your undressed illness at its core
you asked me once where my pain
came from and how a body so fit
for your control could house it.
my mind has stopped racing
and my heart has learned to follow.
my skin has been recycled and learned
to fight exponentially harder if you are ever
my body has learned to exhume illness
like the acid reflux your face conjures
and exit relieves
oh my tongue just got sharper from
going to war with all versions of your perversions.
you wanted me to be a surgeon,
didn't you? now watch this scalpel
of a poem dig under your nails for remorse
watch it delve into your chest for a closer
look at your manic ventilation
at my skilled hands