Poem Only About Girl Work

— Zefyr Lisowski

I’m writing in a dark room. Maybe the body

of the poem is a child. Maybe the body’s

finding itself, like it should have as a child.

Are you listening? Maybe there’s no redeeming

or justifying what’s been done to the poem’s body,

now or as a child.

I skip dinner again, my most cherished habit—

I wish to talk only of pretty things, pretty

bodies, but there’s a distance between naming something

and naming yourself.

I need you to know I’m writing because I miss you,

but I will never forgive what happened.

Poem, I don’t need to tell you what happened

but I’m finding myself in it even as we speak, writing

again towards this body which so many

have written on already.

All their comments. All their comparisons.

When does telling yourself you’re pretty

cease to become a mechanism for staying

alive another day?

I’m writing this in my handheld

machine. I’m Venmoing

my friend for a slice of pizza.

My teeth are too long, I’m an animal.

Of course I care about every single word I hear.

Poem, ignore everything I say about myself.

Thick hair, obscured genitals, all of it.

I’m standing in my bathrobe, reading the comments

section one more time. I’m washing the filth

off my face. I’m looking at you,

the mirror, taken suddenly

            with the great,


                        flawed beauty

of the whole

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