Don’t worry, it’s thrift store leather

which may mean little of my morals

but I love that a body has been reused.

Love that the skin was first worn

by the one who made it from their own cells.

Then worn by another. Then another.

I want my body to be used the same way

so I wear an animal that can teach me.

It’s hide tanned deep chestnut

and sewn to pull taunt over my hips

the vee just deep enough for a hint of cleavage

the skin tight to catch each breast’s curve.


This is how I hold the gift of flesh

against my own belly button where once

I was fed by my mother

who made me from her own blood

her wide nights of troubled sleep

and didn’t she know heartache and grief.


This dress from one who once had memories

and ripped stubborn blades of grass from the earth

as though they too are not living,

are not also reaching for open air.


Let another lover take me this way

let me find a dizzy lullaby in my own hips.

I can smooth myself into this life, as I can

into the skin of another, and dance. Let me sing

as I walk far from the world I made with him.

Let my body say—


When you’re used and the living goes on: