Dialogue with the Body

I thought about leaving you.
But you didn’t.

Why did you treat me so badly?
I was testing your love,
but those days are over.

I was a cigarette under your heel.
You inhaled—admit it.

If I said “stop,” you heard “more.”
I thought you enjoyed a little rough play.
Besides, who had who in bondage?

We used to have fun.
I still love you. I’m just not
in love with you.

Look me in the eye when you say that.
I don’t trust mirrors anymore.

We’re more like roommates now.
I’d like to scale down, move into
something with clean lines.

I’m sick of you micro-managing me,
tired of 2 of these, 1 of those,
working my core.
It’s my way of saying sorry
I took you for granted.

Chocolates make a better apology.
You’ll thank me one day.

I wasn’t as beautiful
as you made me out to be.
Beauty is wasted
on the beautiful.

You don’t take me anywhere.
You don’t take me anywhere.

A body needs a body.
After all I’ve given you?
Sinewy, stubbled, bountiful,
smooth, man, woman.

You seem so distant
and happy without me.
You’re no help
with Sudoku.

I can almost remember
the time before you:
the swaddling sea,
my neck a small boat.
Those hands are dead now.

Who will take care of me
when you’re gone?
Proper arrangements
will be made, your care
entrusted to a stranger.

Where will you go?
I will be a passenger
on a highway that bends.
I’ll ride through cropped hills,
cows still as mushrooms.

Can you hear me now?
You’re all rhythm
and no melody.

Then sing with me.
Help me carry the tune.
Yes, I will be the words
in our little threnody.

Brandel France de Bravo won the Washington Writers’ Publishing House poetry prize for Provenance. She is editor of Mexican Poetry Today and co-author of Trees Make the Best Mobiles.  She has received Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities artist fellowships and the Larry Neal Writers’ Prize in poetry.