"I learned how to be big by accident.
I was 10 and I didn’t look like the other girls.
I was 10 and it was too late to turn
the kids had already learned how to wield the knives under their tongues
so I kept quiet when they spat.
I stayed soft and I forgave.
the first few popped up on my inner
thigh when I turned fourteen,
splayed out like white trees on smooth skin.
when I told my friends, they did not look proud.
I learned how to be big by accident.
a patch reached across my hips when I turned 16 and
the white rivers opened up into a delta
on my calves.
I was a landscape.
I was art.
I kept growing and they kept coming
like refugees from some falling country.
“give me your tired, your poor”
I am a city of sounds.
I will keep you safe.
I know I am supposed to feel ugly.
they all tell me that no woman should
look so well-travelled,
but they don’t know.
I am earth. I am sun and skies.
I am the high road, the low road.
I am every poem about skin.
I am a world that cannot be explored
in one day.
I am not a place for cowards."