Because I stood up & threw half-hearted punches

at unimpressed bullies for you

I got beat down & climbed back up

spitting blood & seeing stars for you

I struck out, dropped routine fly balls

& ran to first base like a girl for you

I looked at your skin mags

& confused tried to masturbate for you

I drove 120 mph through a brick wall

& lived at the bottom of the ocean

all through high school for you

grew gruff & distant & a little crazy

to prove I wasn’t a momma’s boy,

got married, divorced, and finally

even tried to take my unlived life

for you.

 

When I failed even to die as I should

I decided it would be the very last thing

I ever did for you.

 

The next morning

I rose before the sun

& washed the puke & shit

of birth from my body

& I dressed in the clothes

that suited me

& I called myself by a name

I could honestly answer to

& I left the door open behind me

though I didn’t expect

you to follow

 

& I got in the car & I drove

I drove until I ran out of world

& people who knew me

followed the sun across

the breadth of a country

that would refuse me its bathrooms,

its marriage licenses,

its health care, it’s jobs,

its rooms for rent

its respect

its very air if it could

to make the best of what remained

of the rest of my days

last as long as I could

 

& you used the number I left behind

just in case

to call me sick,

to call me a freak,

to call me selfish

but I’ll take that as a compliment

coming from you

I’ll take that as a sign

that I have a real self at last

to be selfish of

that my passport has been stamped,

no matter how grudgingly

that the woman I see in the mirror

has saved me from you

all the yous of this world

just like you must have feared

one day she would

the woman I see in the mirror

who looks back at me

with tears of love and mutual admiration

shining in her eyes

like nothing I’ve ever seen from you

who gives me the only thumbs-up

I need to go on

a flawed, crippled, incomplete woman

always on the run from something

always in disguise

in some ways not a woman at all

as there are no shortage of yous

to remind me

& yet woman enough to mouth thank you

in the glass like I’m some kind of hero

for saving more than a room

& nothing short of my very own life


authorphotowhitedress

Meeah Williams’s  work has appeared in Otoliths, Phantom Drift, Uut, The Conium Review, Per Contra,  Petrichor Review, Stone Highway Review,  Dirty Chai, Shuf, *82 Review, Skin to Skin, Wilde, The Milo Review, Meat for Tea, Angry Old Man, The Ginger Collect, Former Cactus, Anti-Heroin Chic and others.

She lives in Seattle and tweets @pussy_nagasaki

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