Indian Giver

November- a woodpecker beak scrawled into my trunk
it may as well have written “defiance”

reclaiming my body
ten pounds come and go and come, ten
inches sheared off with craft scissors at
ten AM in a steamy dorm bathroom
ten needles through cartilage in less
than ten months

what I let you do, I
loved you, I shudder, I
didn’t want to

the man wore plastic gloves- medical protocol
a plague doctor for spirits, a masked medicine man,
with a gun he carved my words across my ribs
words to give my body wings again

the road by the lake, feet thumping, sweat
under my collarbones, across my shoulder blades
the ache of movement, of a journey
I Claim! my muscles.
a pack of cigarettes I don’t usually
smoke so I burn seven, one off the end of the former
swirling in swings at the playground by the Lutheran church
I Claim! my lungs.
that Subaru, those July midnights,
it was enough for me to lay beside
you on the lowered backseat, to
gaze at your dim star silhouette but
it was not enough for you so
I Gave! my body.
a blackbird sang me a song the other day:
it may as well have been an apology

-Brooke Durkan


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