At the back of the body is a label that says "This body belongs to..."
There is no name in the gap.
I would write my own name
but no matter how I stretch I cannot reach
the neck grows strained and pinched with trying
and I trust no one to write it for me.
No one will know who owns the body if it is lost
it will exchange its tag for a Jane Doe labelled toe
and be explored by med students.
The body has a secret name which not even I can know
How does one look at a tiny child and see their name blooming from them?
Men who glimpse letters from the body's name make its world spin
but none has scooped it with his tongue and poured it in my ear
Some have not even looked for the name
but named the body themselves
(which the body does not care for)
Names which the body cannot forget
Names tattooed through the body's skin onto bone
'gorgeous', 'bitch', 'honey', 'slut'
It is hard for the body to move with these names cracking in its joints.
Perhaps its true name is so long that no one will ever read it
or it is tattooed near its spine
curving black brushstrokes beneath its skin
pulsing in the red blood of its pages
perhaps that is how the man with the fists
saw part of the body's name and used it
to keep me locked to him, longing.
By spilling the blood of the body
with his hard centre
wiping it from his body with such care
I couldn't help but think he knew its name
and would not share.
The body has a currency of touching
and a market for parts
lips go for a kiss
legs for a stroking
vagina for the voice that cracks the body open
and grunting, sews it together with purple thread
but what costs the body the most
are the things left behind
the body is not a rubbish bin
but a receptacle for needles
marked 'Hazard' and painted the colour of warning
people want to take the needles away
clean the plastic bottom of the body
with sour disinfectant
but they are afraid of where the body has been
so it grows larger with sharpness
and no one will touch it for the brokenness within.
the body is afraid of pain, but craves it
if I do not provide
the body will create its own pain
so for years I cut the body
with the blade of a blue pencil sharpener
and while I passed out the body danced
flicking blood into the shadows
and we were friends.
Then I could not slice the body anymore
but I knew it needed hurt
so I scratched the body with a pin
but it scowled at me and punished
my lack of commitment to the body's pain.
I forced the body to lash out
so I bled after three months of not bleeding
and its gift to me was washed away in the tide
I did not give the body the opportunity again.
The body practices its relationship with violence
but weakens in the final moments
crumpling to the dirt
it leaves me to clean up its messes
and makes choices before I can think
the body puts me places I shouldn't be
like amidst a bar brawl
arms up, swinging
before I realise I've crossed the room
and my friend saves me from the body
and I am left spent as though the body has run a great distance
wishing she had let the body go
so I would not have to hurt the body myself
only search through the blood for its name
the body will love no one until they learn its name
but it's not telling
so I lie cold in bed with it
in dread with it
clean sheets shushing over shaved legs
lavender pillow against its head
and wait for the body to kill me
as I am nothing to it.
The body knows no sorry
knows no fear
the body exists with animal blood
running from between its teeth and hands
and gasping wet
dies without permission