Lover, you cannot say you love my body
without loving the unlovable.
I am not a trophy
designed to look do-able.
My fingerprints were formed
by the faith of an adoring mother.
Some nights there are words on my tongue
I still refuse to let out,
but ancient tales live within my veins
just waiting for an exit
and there is a butterfly trapped in my ribcage
whose wings beat defiance through complacent cells.
My bones creak every time I breathe out
like a rusted chair
that has felt too much of the world.
They know the feeling
of falling towards nothingness –
of shattering not landing.
Every morning my bones cry
chronicling tales through ancient gasps.
They know rock bottom
is full of violet brambles
and the absence of friends
scrapes bone marrow into oblivion.
They know wine should not be comforting
yet merlot engulfs my skeleton
staining bones with an unwashable grief
but there is life pirouetting in my veins.
An unquenchable thirst to breathe
in spite of my rattling ribcage.
My skin is made of nostalgia and scar tissue –
a map of stories I love to tell
and some I never will.
Nights mining pearls beneath my skin
tracing the pages of personal history
Some days I do not know if my cloak
is entrapping or solidifying.
But it is my only connection to this life,
the only thing I have to give this world
of sweet teeth and rose lovers.
My offering to gods who offer nothing in return.
So please stranger, tell me again
my body is not good enough.
can try to photoshop me beautiful
but the bags under my eyes
are filled with irrational anxiety
and exhilarating nights you can’t erase.
My face is a roadmap of foolish decisions
and uncontainable laughter.
Lined with long forgotten sorrow
and irrepressible joy.
You cannot erase my history
when it is etched into my every pore.
My body is a reflection of my life,
it may hurt your eyes to perceive
but it was not made
to please, validate or attract.
It was made from my father’s heartbeat:
to breathe and break. It is all I have.
Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!