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Poem by Shawna Ayoub Ainslie

What I want to say is
Life is more than the apple core
behind the bedpost
in your child’s room
three days after he last ate fruit;

There are the raw endings
that blitz you and your heart
going maybe 100 times faster
than you thought possible
each time you open FaceBook

and creep on that woman
who glows like the sun
or Stars or the moon
or whatever, it doesn’t matter
except that she’s fire

She burns that high spot
in your stomach
and you double over clutching
grasping for any sense of reality
because surely

This is not yours.

But that core bred
an abundance of flies
and your heart won’t stop shuddering
and multiplying its sound
until you realize you have felt this

Before, many times
as far back as you can look
there were women who stood in your way
who moved toward you until you ran
just like you run from men whose bodies

you want to wind your tongue around
fly with and land
on bedsheets or moss, doesn’t matter
and this fire she has lit inside you
will not be quenched

even in your coolest fantasies
of bathing together, bodies bare
your breasts meeting in their own embrace
two lips, two lips
waterfall drenching you both

You are soaked by this
gasping and clutching for now
because you cannot experience her heat
when you have not owned

the fluidity of your self.

Shawna Ayoub Ainslie is a coach, writer and creator of online safe spaces for artists engaging issues of survivorship and social justice. Her work has appeared in Art Saves Lives InternationalThe Manifest-StationRole RebootMedium, [wherever], and Open Thought Vortex Magazine. Poetry forthcoming in Exit 7. Find more from Shawna on The Honeyed Quill.



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