The next person to say

but you have

a very beautiful face

will have their ears boxed

by words meant to shame and sting.

as if the curve of my

hips isn’t beautiful

the rise and fall of my breasts

doesn’t make men covet

with each breathe

I take.

there is no comfort to be found

in the softness of my thighs

or stomach

nor solace in the

fact that I don’t require

your approval or dismissal

regarding what is beautiful.

the truth is

beauty isn’t measured

in pounds or inches

it’s measured by

skipping stone heartbeats

breaths that catch

in your throat

the tightness in your chest

that says

I have finally found

home.

Tattoos

Tattoos

I’ve collected stories
in creases and folds
each one is different,
yet are the sum of my whole.

There’s marks on my
hips, from the child I did bare.

A scar on my knee,
my father burned it there.

A gash on my finger,
now paler than I
from carving names
into a tree trunk’s side.

A slash over eyebrow
from the ring I once wore
there are others unnamed
that aren’t special anymore.

I’ve collected these stories
through shame and through pride
they would all mean nothing
if there wasn’t an “I”.

My phone
is silent
and all I can
think about
is the wish
that it would ring
and it’d be you

instead it rings
but its only
an ex-husband
and some other man
that wants to fuck me
under the
false pretenses
of dating and
finding love

But I’m terribly afraid
that I’m unlovable
and all I will really know
is the feeling
of a stranger’s
empty bed
and my own
empty heart