I am a sailor, I am a pirate, I am a cabin boy climbing up into the crow’s nest, higher and higher, thick knots tied around my ankles and I drag the ropes up
I drag the ropes up, I drag the ropes around, I drag the ropes down to the side of the ship, I feel the knots tighten around my legs and I fall overboard into the salt
I fall overboard into the salt, I fall overboard into the water, I fall overboard into the darkness, it fills my lungs with black seaweed and I can’t breathe anymore
I can’t breathe anymore, I can’t see anymore, I can’t think anymore, until suddenly I am being pulled up, rope tied fast around my neck.
Your body is not my body
You don’t need to take those rocks from your chest and hurl them through my windows
I’m already broken enough
but the one thing that isn’t
is that I refuse to be afraid of heights
and every morning I get into a hot air balloon and float up into the sky.
that’s joy, flame underneath and bright colours up top
because down below is just a pit of all we could carry
My body goes through metamorphosis, heaviness into light to save itself
without doing that
suffocating in a mine shaft filled with stormwater
so I go up, whether you’re with me or not but you can follow me out, if you want to
And even if
even if we are on fire, so what?
you can grow many things out of ashes.
You say you’ve been burned before but I already lost my wings, time and time again this body has been alight
that horrible scent of charred flesh
then plucked like a dead canary, feathers ripped off
bloody back, kneeling down prostrate and praying to nobody in a tunnel with no end.
but now my god is eros
see I’m not afraid of flying, and no matter how many rocks you hold
this balloon can still carry you.
I tell her she has brown eyes like me.
Her brother has blue eyes like Dad.
Parts handed down like quilts, eyes from so far back and so far across the sea I don’t even know where my own body was made.
And I see in my hands, heart, lungs everything you gave me, that scarlet bloom of sickness in my chest, bursting up into the air.
I remember hiding under the table, my whole body shut tight, hoping you wouldn’t see me
searching for just a stupid rubber ball.
That ball was the end of me and my clouded eyes that didn’t really see anything at all.
I was blind and yet when I saw you I was blinded more than I ever thought possible, a crouching baby beast feels such electricity in the air and just knows that it’s wrong.
And did you put this wrongness into me too?
What on god’s earth did I inherit:
brown eyes like my mother, brown eyes like my father
and the passion of both enough to split a thousand knuckles wide open.