In twenty-three years,
I’ve only learnt how to
stretch without abandon
on my own in the studio –
if my shirt pulls up and an invisible audience sees one inch of flat white stomach
I don’t shy away.
When I do this it makes me mourn
the girl who died, giving me this privilege.
She only wore
she lied about how tight clothes affect
Her mother cried when she saw
blood on a four-year-old’s underpants
no taking it back.
You see me and you
hurt: no thought for those who
save pain like bone broth, in case they
need it later.
You hold me and you
hurt, worse – who am I
to know all the pain in the world?
You know me and yet you
without thinking –
stepping on a comatose moth is the same as
running one finger along the inside
of the waistband
of a child’s shorts. Shooting a buck is a lot like
shaking a baby. Swatting a beggar is a lot like
the man who made me.
You hear me and you
burn, but there’s no place for your shame
You braved this world.
Jane Rowe writes often, rarely publishes and occasionally wishes that she could sound more like Raymond Carver and look less like Nick Cave.