Poem: Acacia

I want to cut off my breasts and bury them in the dirt.

I want to cut out my womb and burn it.

If I can’t have or nurse children, will you stop treating me as though I am just a vessel?

I want to starve myself so thin that my stomach goes flat and all my bones give my body and face new angles.

I want to push my muscles until they harden my frame and wrap me in sinew.

If I don’t have curves, will you stop telling me that the swing of my hips when I walk, the way I sit or stand, is too sexual?

I want to scream so loud that my voice shatters the sky and breaks your eardrums.

If you can no longer hear me, will you stop telling me that women should not laugh so loudly, or speak so much?

I want to rearrange my face so that I am disfigured.

I want to become so ugly that people look away from me.

If I am not pretty, will you stop telling me how my beauty could attract and please a man?

I want to shave my head down to the scalp.

I want you to see all the bones in my skull.

If I don’t have hair, will you stop quantifying my beauty by how feminine you think I should be?

I want to paralyze myself, and burden you with my immobility.

I want to become so heavy I break your back when you must carry me.

If I can’t move, will you stop telling me women should not wander, and wish for the days when I used to run?

I want to bash in my cranium.

I want to pulverize my beautiful brains.

If I can no longer think, will you stop telling me to be satisfied instead of smart?

If I am nowhere will you stop demanding that I accept my place in your vision?

If I am broken, if I am a withered, cold, dead thing, will you stop telling me you are disappointed in my wildness?

If I hate and poison myself against my self, will you stop feeding me your expectations? If I change my sex, will you stop blaming my womanhood for my shortcomings? If I am no longer me, can you hurt me anymore?

If I ruin my own body, you can no longer claim it.

If I break my own heart, you can no longer harm it.

If I destroy all my dreams, you can no longer make them nightmares.

If I set all the fires, there will be nothing left for you to burn.

I can show you just how disappointing I can be. I can swallow the bitter ashes of my own soul and taste the shame you’ve made my skin. I can tie my hands and feet with my intestines and feel how gutless you think I am.

This is your daughter. Naked, shapeless, hollow.

I want to be nothing.

If I don’t exist, if I am formless, I can lie in wait, and choose my own warm incubator.

If I am dead for you, I can birth myself again.

If I am reborn, I can finally be alive. For me.