they taught you to crawl
out of your body,
crack open your skull,
and bleed away your soul.
they taught you to stay
absolutely fucking still

still your ragged shallow breathing
still your damp sticky thighs
still your wild trusting heart
(still the way you survive)

they taught you to remember
when it feels good
so it can never feel good
so you can never feel:
curse yourself,
you who were
born under a bad moon,
not you who were
sacrifice for a fragile god.

you taught yourself to sing
in dead languages,
to whisper your name to the wind
and know the spin of the stars.
you taught yourself to scream
loudly when it hurts,
speak the vibration of your body
and claim presence as your gift;
to unhex your lovers,
turn spittle into holy water,
shame into pride.

you taught yourself to open
let yourself feel:
the hurt,
the laugh,
the sadness,
the sex.
you, forged in fire, defiant of the
harbingers of death.
you, the envy of the phoenix, burn
without falling to ash,
without knowing to die.
they taught you to hate yourself, and
you taught yourself to fly.