Richaundra Thursday

I don’t body well. ‘Mother’ another mattress
tag stitched to the comforter of me, do not
remove. When they removed the winding
pass to possibility, I looked at the fronded,
soft anemone of me and laughed, I’m told,
of course this is what so frightened Love
-craft. My therapist checks I will not unravel
when asked what part of me I like. I say
my shoulders, explain how hard I am
trying to repatriate them from Atlas’ colon
-ization. My tattoo artist asks if it is hard
to wear a binder for half a day, three-fourths
of a life, I tell her it is easier to work in
but harder to work out. I tell her my shoulders
demand a size that fails to constrict
enough, but maybe I will grow into myself.
My friend asks if I can remove it, circulate
blood back and forth from claustrophobic
heart—the guides all say do not exceed
eight hours, as if I have ever learned
to work less than ten —I say, I don’t know
how to remove without recompense, besides
who has the time. That window open
for eating, another feat I’m never quite artist
of the trapeze enough to reach. I stretch
and stretch into tomorrows, almost buy
a shirt that reads ‘I won’t rest when I’m dead
either.’ There is little comfort in any soft
animal, marine or otherwise. I am a skittish
menagerie. My therapist says the komodo
at the back of my brain needs to communicate
with the gorilla at the front, but I know the route
-r is down and the messages are left unread/on
read. I ground myself less like lightning, ozone
effervescent, and more like a snapped bear trap.

R. Thursday (they/them) is an educator, historian, writer, and all around nerd. When not subverting middle school Social Studies curricula, they can be found whittling down their TBR pile, cooking the spiciest version of any given dish, floundering at video games, or writing about vampires, superheroes, mental health, queerness, and on a good day, all of the above. They live in South King County, Washington.

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