Our Word :: Week 3 Day 2 :: {They Said|I Said}

by Cassie

What they said was,
Eve’s apple didn’t fall far from the tree,
but also,
it fell so far that some of its skin
is still stuck in your teeth.
And you can’t help your nature,
all that orneriness handed down in your ovaries,
all that quiet rebellion in the roots of your hair.

What they said was,
skirts two fingers above the knees,
and then get down on them,
open your mouth up wide and
take the love of Jesus down the back of your throat,
spit out that fruit of knowledge
and swallow down all the divine will you can stomach.
And you can’t help your nature,
the black sheep bleating there behind your breast,
the scarlet E slashed there across your chest.

What they said was,
close your eyes and raise your hands
and let the breath of God blow you back into your place,
give us your tongue and let us hold it,
give us your feet and we will wash them with wet cement.
And you can’t help your nature,
the way you walk right into flaming swords
no matter how many times you burn,
the way you won’t stop charming snakes
no matter how much venom
is bubbling up through your bloodstream.

What they said was,
the help meet is your inheritance,
it comes to you in the shape of a missing rib,
covered in dust and smelling of ashes,
the naming of things hidden behind fig leaves,
your expulsion is for your own good.
And you can’t help your nature,
the soaked velvet smoothness of your wicked wetness,
the controlling cleft that sits in the shadow of your spine.

But what I said was,
I don’t even want a toothpick,
I want to know how original sin tastes
trapped against the baptized buds at the top of my tongue,
I encourage every irritable egg released,
let my hair down to talk back and take up space
and be generally unruly in its unbound state.

What I said was, sometimes I don’t even want to wear a skirt,
sometimes it’s the covering up that’s comfortable,
sometimes I want to be on my knees in jeans
and if I want to,
I can catch supplication in my mouth and save it for later.

What I said was,
wool makes my skin itch and
all this black draws down the sun
so I throw it off me and stand naked in the sudden rain,
running red around my feet,
no scars but the ones I made myself.

And what I said was,
I keep my eyes open underwater
so I can see the sharks approaching,
I keep my hands balled up in fists to punch them in the nose,
and my place is where my own breath takes me,
whatever exhalation feels like home,
and my tongue knows thirty-five ways to call myself a hero,
my feet know thirty-five ways
to take me back to every burned out garden I claim as my own.

What I said was,
I like the heat and I like the bite,
and all I’ve inherited is full-moon wolf-eyes,
a howling here behind my breastbone,
a ruffled fur wildness resonating
in the dirty God-shaped space of my ribcage.

And what I said was,
the naming was never yours,
it belonged in the mouths of the mothers,
in the hands of the whores,
in between the rosebud legs
of blessed virgins
and the desert breasts of dried up crones.

What I said was,
it was vanquishment
not banishment
that brought me here,
this body the spoils of a war we won,
and I stitched your lips in silence
so I can’t hear you anymore.

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