Life, Poetry, Writing

A Curse of Curves

A curse of curves ties my hands behind my back;

twists my ankles together,

leaves me gagged in an attic somewhere.

Men of varying pedigree climb the stairs

to rub my lamp-like hips

and whisper their interpretation of affirmation,

willing these chains off for at least a moment,

to take for granted a wish.

 

— Janine Serioux

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Life, Poetry, Writing

Questions For People Who Don’t See Color

Congratulations on attaining this peculiar disability.

Forgive my morbidity but,

tell me, what does my skin look like sans color?

Since I am no longer black to you

I could not be grey either, since grey is a color too.

Perhaps you see me as truly colorless, a shape-shifter like water or air?

But even then, when the light bends through me

is it like looking through glass?

Am I to be just as brittle?

Can you still read the texture of my hair, the shape of my eyes and mouth?

Or is that more of the color you don’t see?

I must be a phantasm then.

No wonder you seem so scared,

All this pushback from a ghost.

What is it like to live a life so haunted?

And what do you see when you see yourself?

Can you see yourself?

Perhaps you are a ghost too.

 

— Janine Serioux

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Life, Poetry, Writing

Cover

Some say small women can get away with wearing less.

Slim steel limbs and bud nipples on trim ribcages,

Skin fitted close like armor.

Their bodies hold a different revolt

That can be smuggled neatly in size 6 jeans.

They wage war in seed, planted within the walls of convention.

Then there are women like me

With thighs broad and lapping like riverbeds,

The body of a tree, branches bowed heavy with ripe fruit no matter the season.

How does one ready an orchard for battle?

How to shore up these shores?

What do you sheath this greenhouse in to prepare it for an onslaught?

— Janine Serioux

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Life, Love, Poetry, Writing

Auto-parturition

One evening I lay in the bathtub and give birth to myself. near drowning in a pool of a lifetime of my mother’s tears; purified and desalinated, strained through the marrow of my grandmother’s bones, with a drop of my father’s blood, the water chilled by his distance. hands strange and familiar come from surprising distance to rub my shoulders raw with encouragement and rejection. my lover’s fingers curl playfully around my throat and gently push my head under water but I struggle to the surface every time and breathe anew. slow and steady like they said to. my distended belly bobs, sweet amorphous cumulus. Every gasp ragged with indecision and humbling fear. I will carry this sense to term.

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Life, Love, Poetry, Writing

Wrath

When he was wrong
(which was more often than not)
He turned my lap into an alter,
Tonguing out his prayers of gratitude
For my mercy and grace.
He thanked me for my constancy;
That I did not forsake him,
Though he was undeserving
And for forgiving his sins,
While knowing he would sin again.
I heard his prayers
With the serenity of the ocean
And stroking his head,
Answered in the one language he could not understand
(Love)
“Vengeance
is mine.”

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