DSJPQ56W0AEq2Dl.jpg largeWhen I stopped dancing full-time and entered delayed puberty

my breasts swelled like a lily in a pond

at first it was kinda cool getting attention from boys

then I hated how they jutted out and called ahead

like car headlights

slowly tracking, flashing, blinding

in those days of Flashdance and Fame

the three L’s; leggings, leg warmers, leotards

loving in the afternoon, running to studio

dancing with the smell of sex on my stomach

other girls ate salad and cardboard

threw up in the bathrooms

bound their breasts with cloth

I admired their long necks and sinewy thighs

the tightness of their waists and flat chests

my own puberty felt like something out of control

foreign and unwanted to me

I wanted the lean girl of childhood back

the one who climbed trees with one hand

hung upside down

eating apples

there was too much

attached to owning breasts and thighs

even his circle of me dimmed

looking at some of my friends

the ones with slimmer hips and shoulders

still in their girl-doll-bodies

I with my woman seeping out

became a thing of disgust, or so I thought

when I carried his child, my breasts grew even more

wetting the front of my nightshirt with wasteful milk

his eyes took in the sum of me and disgusted

he looked away

always preferring me hairless and skinny

like a girl not a woman

no make-up, wearing little thin things

someone he could control

so I had a sickness in myself

of warped images, desire and lost babies

starving myself beyond the pale

it wasn’t hard, I had little to lose

soon I ran for buses on the breath of feathers

circling my waist he’d say

you remind me of Audrey Hepburn

being tiny, I decided it had been a dream

no child, no loss, no lack of desire

he sexed me every night until sate

leaving bruises on my legs and arms like

vampire bites

but always turning his head away

like he was thinking of someone else

when he left me for that girl

who was dark-skinned and voluptuous and healthy

I realized being a little girl didn’t keep me safe at all

after that I never gave myself away

to people with eyes that looked straight through me

or hands that grabbed to own

a piece of me or what I possessed

though I had no idea what

that was

lying by myself in a small room

smoking hashish in the dark listening to

Tunnel of Love on repeat

I tried to turn my heart to glass

only my body wanted to be awoken from her slumber

a virginal boy, with no grace and long hair

filled my nights and my bed for a time

I taught him how

to roll the perfect joint

and study, where time ended and pleasure began

once he asked

why do you bind your breasts every morning?

they are beautiful

I turned from him

my skin burning with secrets

and did not ever reply

for who can disclose the litany of pain?

as it lies

like a sleeping child

behind your eyes?

16 Replies to “Behind your eyes”

  1. :_( This one makes me ache, Candice. And these lines…

    after that I never gave myself away
    to people with eyes that looked straight through me
    or hands that grabbed to own

    It’s like you were reading from my playbook. Well done, my friend.

  2. Thank you gorgeous girl (and yes, in a bikini, in full sun, no make up, what the hell, how does she do it?) I appreciate your words of support. This was definitely a harder one to write, I think I wrote it in defiance of what Anthony had said about confessional writing 🙂

  3. There is a time when a litany of pain can sleep no longer, must wake and come out from behind the eyes, and speak its truth in full, and hopefully, as here, with a strangely gentle beauty.

    I think that “confessional” is not the right word, when there are many who could tell similar stories if only they had the courage and the skill, who can never the less know they are not alone.

  4. Agreed. Confessional is too limiting. I appreciate that. Because this critic of the Anthology basically invalidated the idea of writing ones stories, and implied it was over-done and unnecessary. Which only validated the notion that it is as necessary now as it ever was.

  5. aw, love you too my friend and I’ll take every bit of blessings and return unto you many blessings this season & seasons to come in abundance, in joy, in hope (big spirit hug)💕😊💖

  6. <3 She just does it because it feels good! You are so very welcome for the support, Candice. I adore your writing and the soul you put into it. Imma keep coming back! 🙂

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