What I Carry on My Chest

tree circles 4

By LeAnne Hunt

He said, You asked for it.
The classroom of twenty wide eyes
multiplied into 180 pairs
so that each could see my frozen face
in all directions inside my head.
My face naked though my left breast,
freshly squeezed like an unripe apple,
remained wrapped in baggy layers.
His fingers crushed
my cricket voice
in the burrow of my throat.
I stood in the classroom
to the thundering applause
of silence.
Mr. Lusk watched and watched.
I was dry mounted on the slide,
dyed and magnified,
shame labeled.

My nipples cracked like geyser fields.
Pain erupted
from her barracuda mouth
every feeding
as she burst the fruits of infection
she had planted.
Two years later I could not bear
to dry my breasts with a towel.
Three years later
another said,
It wasn’t that bad.
It’s all in your head.

My overripe breasts were the burden
I alone
carried from my gnarled trunk.
Then you came into
my garden
and polished them with your blue skies.
You cup them in palms and name them
Cider pours between us.
The air is spicy and cinnamon
with want. We sow
the night and harvest morning. I blush
dewy in dawn light.
My head is filled with humming
You are my farmer and apple picker;
I your fields and orchards.
We gather honey and nectar. We shroud
winter in tangled limbs.
The sun watches over us below.


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