Hottest June

rooftopping myself into       the arms of the hottest June
Seattle can give       I remind myself that I’m a seed
of desert        drought my first     language        other landscaped 
languages may thrill           but will remain
foreign                     wearing my body bold      I try to stop  
myself from giving it
the side-eye when there is no one to witness my slip of a dress and
where my arms stretch     into marks               lines mapping where
I’m coming from                        and going       I study
my scarred   topography    roughed bumped skin and fat each line 
a curve           manifesting me      visible                      I’m reminded 
of my adolescent ache for dissipation                no whiteness—  
I slathered my grainy arms with     doctor prescribed chemicals
stayed out    of the sun                and waited     for my skin to peel
an unspooling of 
thread into    momentary ocean
but between burning and
unraveling of 
gathered compliments  for my new delicate dermis
this here is always uneasy           terrain
a whipped up regret                   the family nose too thick for desirability
that teenage mirror             would not reveal the good side of bone 
or       fat     or the brown of this expanse I call                      body
each day since       is worked reflection a tending         to my own geography— 
a sharp bloom of prickly spine. 

Copyright © 2019 by Casandra López. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 25, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.