Say clavicle. Say askance. Say bent.
Tell me about the warm carve of my body—
its lilt off the diagrams. Its pitch on the violence
of my posture. Mast cracked, shape-shifted in wind.
Tell me, surveille me. I want to stand taller again,
held up by my own moorings, collared at the broken neck
like a minaret. Voice no longer fluctuating against the weather of my pain.
I want new ease slicked with drizzle or struck and electrified,
I don’t care as long as someone sees me.
I want to be charted like I’m the end of the known world.
A cascade of ocean falling over an imaginary
edge. A terminus someone might believe in—
against the odds and the facts. Find me
a continuum of possibility. An answer.
Divide me like flesh cleaved. Take out my spine
like your anatomy chart gapped down the middle
each one and one of each— bisected and longing—
palms turned to the viewer, open and open again.
Forget which side to hold me up against,
my body refuses to fit the equations.
Say defiance. Say heal. Say mercy.
River Elizabeth Hall (she/her) is a poet and naturalist with degrees from Fairhaven College and Antioch University Seattle. Her work has appeared in Bear Review, Main Street Rag, Moist Poetry, Nimrod, Parentheses Journal and Tinderbox among others. She is a 2023 Best of the Net Nominee and winner of Tinderbox Poetry’s 2022 Majda Gama Editor’s Prize. In 2021, she was a semi-finalist in the The Floating Bridge Chapbook competition and was long-listed for the Palette Poetry Prize and the Frontier Open. She is the founder of Seattle Writers Circle, an online workshop series dedicated to creating supportive community, inclusion and creative exploration for writers of all genres and abilities. Learn more about her writing and other offerings at RiverElizabethHall.com