I Let You Call Me Beautiful

I Let You Call Me Beautiful

i let you call me beautiful
because i know you mean beautiful
naked faced, unshowered, raspy
because you mean raw, pen in fist, screaming
because you mean lustful, razor-tongued
i let you call me beautiful
because you’ve traced the scoliosis snake of my spine
kissed the stretch marks under each breast
stroked the lines around my eyes
beacuse these are my grandmother’s eyelids
my father’s lips
my great-great grandfather’s cheekbones
but i’ve fed this face sunburn and city air
calloused the eyes
and let the brows grow in
for the sake of the veins that river my wrists
for the sake of the prolapsed valve in my heart
for the sake of the scars marking my gall-bladder absent
for the sake of the rasp and rattle of my functioning lungs
for the sake of the pre-arthritic ache of my elbows
and ankles
for the sake of the life-line sectioning my palm
for the sake of the photographic pads of my fingertips
for the sake of the vulnerable dip at the base of my throat
for the sake of the muscles surfacing on my abdomen
for the sake of these arms that carry babies
and anthologies
for the sake of the leg hairs that sprout and are shaved
for the sake of the ass that refuses to shrink or be hidden
for the sake of the place that bleeds and accepts
bleeds and accepts
for the sake of the prominent ridge of my nose
for the sake of the strange convexity of my ribcage
for the sake of the single hair that insists on growing from my right ariola
for the sake of the dent where the mole was clipped from the back of my neck
for the sake of these inner thighs brushing
for the sake of these eyelashes that sometimes turn inward
for the sake of these hips preparing to spread into my grandmother’s skirt
for the sake of the beauty of the freckle on the first knuckle of my left little finger
call me beautiful
kidnap the word from perfume bottles and magazine covers
the way i stole back this body from the airbrushed delusions i knelt to in dormitory bathrooms
swear beauty means sex with the lights on
means caressing imperfections because this beauty is human
and human is flaw
standing naked before the full length
i smooth lotion into new cellulite
and old scars
close my eyes to picture my knees
my navel
my forehead
an architect reconstructing the house she grew up in
i believe in this body
like i believe in the beauty of plaid
the blonde swirl on the back of my six month old cousin’s head
the untouched drape of snow across my windowsill
the wedding ring on my grandmother’s widowed hand
the way beauty is the color of joy after suffering
the quick intake of breath before
yes!
the way fury is beautiful
and orgasm beautiful
the terror of headlights as you spin out on the ice
searing solitude beauty
call me beautiful
i’ll burn both of us
down
to bone

– Marty McConnell

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2 thoughts on “I Let You Call Me Beautiful

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