In Which I Try To Fire My Body, But Before I Can, My Body Puts In Its Two Weeks

CW: Abuse


The disease resists diagnosis and instead begs
a description. A list of areas I don't feel pain:

Most fingers. My mouth, sometimes. The back
of my left ankle. Usually my forearms. Okay,

now a list of things that alleviate pain:
Being underwater. Biking away. Drinking.

Driving exactly 45 minutes, but only south.
Drinking. Drinking. Drinking. Okay,

how about your doctors? Not to be
dramatic, but Fuck You. Sometimes I take

lovers based on how they touch my back.
Sometimes I keep lovers based on how

they react when I beg them to be dangerous
to me. Listen, I never get to be in pain for fun.

It's always this supermarket-spasm, this
work-limp, the subtle contortion I hide

under another seat taken. Okay, I have
a theory: Once, I had a lover who only

looked at me. So my spine twisted t'ward
their hands. So my hips dilapidated in such

a way that they must have noticed how I
slowed under different weather. I mean,

I drank until I moved soft enough to glide
into them. I mean I biked so fast

their only option was to follow. I mean,
it is not my fault. Sometimes I decide

to spend the night based on the shape
of someone's bed. What is it called

if a body twists against me in the dark
and I am jealous of its ability to do that?

What if I drive 45 minutes three times over
just to be held? What if, alone

in the elevator or break-room
or single-stall-restroom, I hold

my breath until I am underwater?
Maybe that is the diagnosis working

backwards. Maybe if I stop spending
the night I will stop waking up with

so much new hurt. Listen, I threw up
the medication. The bath-water got

cold. The stairs leered when the
elevator broke. My lover's hands were

so gentle and I still bruised. Okay, a list
of things I've told to Fuck Off recently:

Every doctor ever. A memory in which
a now-ex lover tells me to stand up.

My skin and its stubborn welt. My bed,
for how I sink into it. The space between

my shoulders where once I asked
someone to punch me and they did

and it didn't help. How my desperation
rears and snakes. How a multitude

of hands reach to cradle all this
nightmare-ugly and just

the air moving between us
makes me flinch.



LINETTE REEMAN (they/them pronouns) is an Aries from the Jersey Shore, so they're not sure what you mean by 'speed limit.' They have work published or forthcoming in Blueshift Journal, Maps for Teeth, FreezeRay, Public Pool, and others. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Bettering American Poetry nominee, Linette is on the executive board of the Philadelphia Fuze Poetry Slam and is sort of trying to complete a bachelor's degree, but is mostly just trying to survive in small-town America.