My brain’s a sponge: once
I slept with a playing card beneath
my pillow to stain my thoughts
bright red. Let’s not dwell too long
on the times I snuck juice and vodka
and postured for the mirror in a towel.
I monitored the gap between my thighs
for the slightest sign of cellulite
when an older woman praised
my child-bearing hips. I told my sister
my pointe shoes smelled like roses. I rejected
the suggestion of artifice, waded
in the lake wearing my mom’s sunhat.
I was all shyness; I had not burned yet.
image: Amanda Jones