"Rosanne, You Can Put on the Red Light Tonight"

I’m on the phone with Roseanne Barr,

I ask her, “What are you supposed to do

when you’re afraid of your own body?”

She tells me she doesn’t know, but if I figure it out

to call her back.

I do what I always do: push on the bruise,

the bruise being my body,

the thing that bruised me being my mind.

I realize, I haven’t seen enough variation

of the inner thigh. I don’t see anybody

naked, up close, chin to shin

or what have you.

The only bodies I see are perfect. And not anything like mine.

I call Roseanne back, I’m crying.

“Do you self sabotage by denying the good

in lieu of the perfect? Do you, Roseanne?

Because Brene Brown says that we all do

and I know she’s right. But does that mean my expectations

are impossible to meet? And that it’s not that way

because of my high self worth

but rather as a guise to hide how very very low it really is?”

Roseanne is quiet on the other end.

She chokes through a few confused exchanges, then apologizes.

She has to go. Don’t call her tonight, she’s going to be busy.

I’m going to be busy too,

chewing on my pillow as I flip through

childhood memories like a fucking picture book.

I do not like bodies that look like mine. Does anyone?

I don’t know. I never let myself know.

Will I ever not wince at being touched?

I don’t know.

Neither does Roseanne.

But the world thinks we’ve both got it handled.

When you have a body like mine you either get to be brave

or disgraceful.

That’s it.

#LilyUlfelder #poetry #20172018

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