my whole life I was told
stand up straight.
my mother made me take ballet –
never once imagining me a ballerina –
and horseback riding,
purely for the posture.
and you said it once or twice, but
it wasn’t until you physically put me right
that I felt it. I can still feel
that ghostly print
of your warm hands on my upper chest
when I close my eyes.
you said, “It’s harder for you because of these”
meaning my breasts
“but here” and you simply
straightened my spine
and for once I felt it,
each vertebra coming
into alignment, and
it felt like leaning back,
too far, tipsy and tipping,
precariously high above the ground,
open and vulnerable.
but it also felt like coming home
to my own body.

I asked,
“Did you ever do the Alexander technique?” I had
actually done it in college,
but like everything else in the
40 years of my life before I met you,
somehow it didn’t really stick,
it didn’t quantify, or signify.
“No,” you said, “but my mother did.”
somehow that spoke volumes.

whoever it was that said
that we never really love another person
as much as we love who we are
when we’re with them was right.

even though I’ve made an ass
out of myself countless times
in front of you, over you, and around you,
the ways in which you have improved me
are tangible, I can feel them,
I know their validity like I know
my own heartbeat.
damn you to hell and back
for how you broke my heart
but bless you to heaven and beyond
or in the next life
for the ways you’ve helped me.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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