On the 4 train, the cold air pounds away the sweat rummaging each fold and flap of my body. I fall asleep in drips. I realize that exhaustion has become like another bruise on my arm: purple. heavy. persistent in its spread. A well-dressed black man in pinstripes and electronic book on lap reads my shoulder. He tells me I am deep. Or, my skin is. We talk about restrictions and the ways in which we are forced out of our bodies by men with an agenda for our construction sites. (I am paraphrasing.)
He says: Who has the right to another’s vagina but you? I have a daughter, he announces. I need to be aware of what can be fought away from her.
I almost obtained a male analyst.
I almost moved in with a man who loved the way my breath tasted.
I almost ate that banana today from the farm stand in Queens, until I remembered that two months ago, I bought some strawberries that may have given me chapped lips and a questionable rash, so instead I fed it to the mouth of garbage can on subway platform.
I almost quit my job again.
I almost bought a ticket to Minnesota to live with a Rebel in a yurt.
I almost removed all the particles of what I once was to find the gravity beneath.
We get off at the same stop and I wish him a good night as I travel from underground toward the evening summer steam. I haven’t seen the moon in days, though two nights ago I left the nudity of my bedroom to walk inside the tap-dancing rain to search for what I once was. I only got to the end of the block, then turned around.
I failed mathematics sophomore year of high school from forty-two absences and never reached the level of calculus. Even the quadratic equation cannot guide me to understand the pattern and comparable weight of mosquito bites on my limbs. They favor my right leg: thigh, calf, ankle. How flavorful is the fur that erodes me.
Before man read my body on Brooklyn bound subway, I digested a pint of poetry in east village bar full of music makers and spoken words. Briefly fell in love with a singer whose armpits had shadows like mine. Before I left, I kissed a human whose hunger for Canada will soon take her there. I sung my way toward E. 14th.
I call this callus: Neptune.
Upon realizing the strength of my backstory, I swept up my curls and climbed them onto the highest peak of my skull. Curved my back into a cape. No one can see me, I thought. Then, I hummed apologies until my throat collapsed like a poorly constructed bridge and that man who noticed the book implanted in my skin will tell his daughter that bodies should never be censored, nor evenings nor love nor magic……..