Body in Exile

by Annie Davison

after Mira Dancy’s painting ‘Blue Exile’

       Mid March I give up my lungs. 
 Here are the seedy airways that have shrunk 
            in my chest; here 
                                    is a bruised moon.

When they tell me to run I laugh.   

         I’d age on my terms, if I
  had to; I’d do anything for the people I love.     Lying on my back 
               at night, I scratch the grey parts of this skin 
                                                                                   with ultraviolet teeth- 

How many excuses does a body find 
                                                                 to stay alive? To keep its shell?

I never remembers whose face cries in my sleep. Veins turn
           brick red and burst in water, the 
                       shower curtain turns             
                                       scarlet,              wet hair is wrapped in cellophane.

       Sweaty ghosts have started to swell 
              in crowded rooms, talking to 
                                       themselves by bookshelves 
                                                                        or glaring at the floor.

I enjoy them.
         In fact, I am leaving my body here,
                             talking to itself and glaring at the floor.         The floor
         was never a problem, always made me feel less dizzy, 
                                                                                               more real.

The walls don’t worry me, either.
                                                    They lick 
my neck and thighs so soft
                                              that it almost feels like I’m