Self-Defense or What I Wish Mama Had Taught Me
for My Daughter
Your body can unzip
like a boned bodice.
Your body is a knife—
both slicing point
& handle. Your body is the diamond
but the bleeding is not yours.
On the ground at your feet
your body is becoming rocks.
Heat-baked by centuries into basalt,
canyons of you, black-mouthed & sharp-edged.
Lift the largest rock
of yourself and throw
with all the rocks in your gut.
Ghost the mother of your gut—she birthed you
In the ghost story, a woman goes to hell
for a man who’d unravel her.
Use the hell
of your body,
unravel for no one but yourself.
Originally published in Origins. Copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Givhan. Used with the permission of the author.