“In grade school, I pigeon-holed my skeleton
into any crawlspace I could find
because little girls weren’t supposed
to have backbones.
I walked to school with my insides
on the outside—I never unlearned
how to be that raw.
I couldn’t fit the bones back
into my body, so with my skull
fitted over my head like a helmet,
I readied my softness for battle.
I was unashamed to be
the flower-girl in the combat zone.
One day, I would plunge my fist
into the pomegranate,
and dare them to make a victim
I didn’t know that childhood fear
could grow into a rage this mighty,
but I will march with my beating heart
like a beating drum,
through the marshes of it’s own destruction.
I will come out on the other side,
and the blood in my mouth will be mine
and I will go kissing old wounds
with the copper tang of it.
I am scouring the Badlands of my body.
I am climbing the peaks of the words
they used against me.
I am painting pictures of dead men
on the palms of my hands, so
there will be no such thing
THE POMEGRANATE, by Ashe Vernon