Self by Sara Rabinowitz

Part One

My body is not my own.

It is the world’s. It is the earth’s.

It belongs to every blade of grass and gust of wind.

It belongs to every brush of a finger and clench of a fist. 

It belongs to those who will reach for it, 

Those who will grab for it, those who will take it.

It belongs to those who will squeeze it, those who will bend it, those who will use it.

My body is not my own, but instead it is up for the taking.

Words were inked into my flesh

The moment my body took form.

Instructions for those who look upon me,

Take me, hurt me, kill me.

My body is a piece at an auction.

Buyers grope me with their eyes. 

I cannot look upon my own body, for that is vain and distasteful,

But I am stripped bare for the world.

My body and my mind are not connected.

My mind exists elsewhere,

Hovering behind a glass curtain

Where it cannot control what happens inside and out of my body.

It watches as decisions are made for it.

It screams and begs.

It weeps for the body that it believes is its,

Yet knowledge of the reality plagues its heart.

Is there strength in understanding?

Those who falsely believe that their body belongs to them

Are not prepared for the attacks

By those who live to prove them wrong.

We craft armor for our body,

Hide keys between our fingers like swords. 

We trap ourselves behind the walls

That we create to hide from you.

But there is a burden in being safe.

We cannot walk the streets at night,

For we know what lurks behind

The shadows that creep.

We keep within ourselves.

Never can we run free

Through the field of desire 

Toward a world that loves us and keeps us safe.

Do you wish for us to die?

You have mistaken the different forms of love,

For you say you love us,

But your love is cruel.

You look at us with hunger in your eyes,

Lust on your lips.

You envision bruises on our soft skin

And use our bodies for your pleasure.

Your love is dirty.

You use it to justify what you do to us,

And laugh when we try to 

Make ourselves feel whole again.

Our tears flow as a river would and

You lie at the bank of it all,

Washing away the dirt of your sins

With the water that you caused to flow.

Part Two

I wish to God that my body was mine.

Sometimes it feels so much to be true,

So much so that I can pretend

As desperation coats my soul.

I can press my fingers into it,

Stroke, touch, squeeze.

My fingers push into my skin and my skin pushes back.

Whichever way I move, my body moves with it.

If I push my finger into the soft parts of my cheek, it will cave in.

If I pull it back it will stretch.

I feel the pressure through every part of me.

The presence that my existence has a sense.

If I stare,

Someone stares back.

And if I cry,

A tear will fall upon my cheek.

I will feel the pain of someone’s knife

On my flesh or in my heart,

Just as one would feel it too

If I were to bare my knife on them.

My feet leave marks in the sand.

Even washed away the mark remains,

Though now in the sea is where it lays,

Forever a reminder that I stood.

My body is mine to hold and to touch, 

To protect and to sacrifice.

It is my home,

Yet it depends on me to survive.

I live within it and

It lives within me.

We are each other’s home,

Protector and protected, we share the weight.

Part Three

One day I will lie down to die.

Who will my body belong to then?

Will my soul stay within its home,

Loyal to that which had protected it?

Or will it be cast out,

Left to wander alone in a world

That cannot see them,

Though they never could before.

One day that question will be answered,

When I at last choke out my final breath.

But as my chest still rises and falls

The same question plagues me either way.

I hate that I have to beg for the right over my own body. 

Though hatred and I have

Become more linked than

I would have thought to be possible.

So since I already live in a world

Where hatred and I share a bed,

And every night I feel His breath on my neck,

I am prepared to do just that.

Please let me hold myself.

Let me feel safe in this home that I am stuck with,

And that I have protected on my own,

For my self and for my soul.

Let me be angry.

Do not make me justify that anger,

Say that the fire that consumes me from the inside

Is too much for you to handle.

Let me be sad.

Let me weep and mourn for the

Death of my soul, for She was

Too young to know such sorrow.

Let me love.

Let me search for the words to describe

The way I feel towards myself,

Whether it be philautia or agape. 

And at last, give me control.

It is myself and I that see each other when I look in a mirror,

Not you.

You cannot see beneath my skin as I can.

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