I take rejection like a winner, spit the blood
from my mouth when you’ve finished
trauma into my lungs, smile through the bruises,
keep your secrets in my throat, along with your name.
I won’t speak you into existence.
My body tapped out but my Spirit’s in the ring, I won’t go down.
Fists don’t need words to speak, shades of you staining my cheekbone, a child’s signature.
Numb, I am transparent.
Still, you never knew when to stop. I used to watch the bubbles of anger form on your lips and think maybe if he kissed me this wouldn’t hurt.
I was underdeveloped, rage, half your size and yet it was you who hurt.
Tears falling from your eyes, a little voice in my chest screaming I know and I couldn’t silence her.
I swallowed your shame and stomached it better than you could. I want to spit you out but you’ve flavoured my tongue and there are traces of you in the back of my eyelids.
You thought women were weak, but the same hands you bound, ground herbs, whispered sacred words and wiped the salt that you couldn’t carry from your face.
Little boy, calm your rage. Girls are not for beating. Grow into the skin you hide behind, watch how the women do it without heaving.
I take rejection like a winner, climbing on the steps I stumbled on. Kicking them to pieces behind me. You can’t reach me up here, floating with the fireflies.
Bite your tongue, learn release, I might reach down my hand.