The Space I Take
– Poetry by Breia Gore –
Come nighttime, there are five mirrors
around my house and I have conquered
them all. If they would like to take away
my looking glass, they will have to fight the
brass knuckles in my stomach. Before it learned
how to fight, it knew how to stay quiet.
At dinner parties, all I had to do was turn
on the sink, heave my battle cries through
two fingers, rise and repeat. If erosion
waved in my belly, I felt some connection
to the bible that was always missing.
Three days and three nights sat in the
belly of a whale with nothing to eat, it is
always the wild animals that made me
nauseous and small. All the wild animals
begged for me to be thrown as meat,
and I, unwilling to be thrown as meat.
To be thrown at all. I am not meat, I am
a woman. I do not need a mirror to tell me this.
First Thing in the Morning
I rolled over one morning to hit the snooze on my alarm cock,
and my hair dipped into the leftover broth sitting on my bedside table,
wiped my hair back, warm against my neck like a whisper.
Sat up my washed body, ringed my hair carefully.
What is there to be thankful for? This body? This breast?
This belly like softened butter that melts with sprigs of herbs beneath my skin?
The heat of the duvet transforming this body into something golden and hot,
so when he takes it into his mouth, I will finally melt on someone’s tongue?
The cavities in my teeth I can stick my finger in to feel my heartbeat?
How easy it is for me to roll over and buoy on the springs, raise my hands above
my head and swim laps? Massage my calves, stretch my sleepy back muscles, crack them
like the sky barking to the backyard dog? Am I thankful for being able to leave a
streaming towel on the ridge of my nose to get the same feeling as an arched back?
My body didn’t know what it wanted when it was fourteen, yet surprisingly welcomed
hand after hand, hidden. This morning, I am thankful to be able to get the broth out of my hair.
Asking For Less
You lie in the accidental vomit covering the bathroom sink and tiles.
A sick pollution deeply threads your yellow tongue.
A whisper, like a monsoon, like thunder,
like a cyclone, like a music box: get sick.
Elementary school skeleton, wondering why
you’re not as small as the swing-set seats.
Your hips take up space, then
they don’t see cake crumbs in years.
Dip two fingers in collarbones to feel
starvation like cavemen, suffering forms
to milk cartons and diet soda cans.
Flesh immerses into porcelain and
two hours in, blue toes. Learn to keep
talking to a minimum, save that gag
reflex, think of it: lilypad ribcage.
Throw away everything like the
orange peels out a car window.
Disintegrate in an open field,
just the same.
Artist Statement – Breia Gore
In these poems I take a critical view of myself, more specifically my own perception of my body: the amount of physical space I take up, how concerning my mass is to me, and what I can do when I’m finished thinking about it. They explore my complex relationship with a topic that is always hard to arrange, eating disorders. Written at three separate times in my life these formal poems are grouped with the same meaning: I am tired of it. Expressing my body, either therapeutically or negatively, with language has always followed me. My struggle with body misconceptions is not a secret and it shows up in my art no matter what else I am going through. If anything, it grounds me. Once a poem about it has been written, I feel like I am healing and moving on from it a bit more.
About the Author – Breia Gore
Breia Gore is an Asian-Pacific American poet living in South Carolina attending the University of South Carolina where she is pursuing a BA in English concentrated in Creative Writing and minor in film studies. Breia Gore’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Lithium Magazine, Adolescent Content, Concept Literary, and Dirty Paws Press. She strives for education reforms in the arts through Teach For America and aims to create her own literary magazine to encourage youths to stay community-engaged and politically active. When she isn’t stumbling over rough drafts or pointing out small animals on walks, she can be found drinking tea and organizing her pens.
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