To Bodies and Hearts Involuntarily Undressed

You are the sea –
you are so much bigger than the parts
of you people try to hold in their hands.
But “hold” is too much of a kind word
for the things that you have seen.
You have been grabbed, unraveled and misused;
a paper so drawn on you can only see slivers of the ghost white it was.
Do not take residence in those pages;
you can’t make a life in shredded paper.
Those hands do not deserve to mold themselves into your skin.
Snakes shed their layers two or three times a year,
Slithering out of the old and leaving that part of them behind;
you need to shed yours today.
Never take the blame that isn’t yours;
don’t let it be pearls strung across your neck –
It’s not a gift, it’s a threat,
and it’s a burden you need not wear.
Your words were sturdy, even if they were in a shaking breath,
there’s no confusion to be made –
denial is not desire.
Actions may not be able to be undone,
but trees take every disaster their roots have seen,
and shape them into a ring;
not proud of their cracks,
but not afraid of what they’ve withstood.
Your skin has a history too,
whether it’s read in freckles or scars.
Do not make yourself small just so you can’t fit into your memories.
You are the sea,
big, and beautiful, and strong,
and not a thing can rule you.

Schuyler Peck

About Ijagun Poetry Journal

Ijagun Poetry Journal is a quarterly journal that provides a platform from which we can tell our own stories in the authenticity of their multiplicity through the poetic medium. We don’t want to hear these stories from our master “griots” alone; we want to hear from those mastering their art, too. Hence, we aim at publishing new and emerging poets. We also welcome the works of established poets in order to encourage the poetic genius of those mastering poetic art. We prize original works that conform to, break or reinvent conventions. Again, we accept reviews and critical essays on poetry. We also accept powerful art works and photographs that make us appreciate the "poetry" in everything.
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