by Samya Abu-Orf

a return

lately I’ve been putting myself to bed naked

which I never used to do

lying down flat between two layers of cloth

and I wonder why that inclination has risen in me

to lay me down in my most natural of forms

adorn myself in nothing but that with which I was born

somehow deciding this is the state I choose to return to

in moments where I am truly alone

perhaps I long to take ownership

truly savor the skin that belongs to me

take stock of that which I have successfully maintained

—to what degree, I am not sure

perhaps here I am fetal

unblemished

unaltered

untouched

perhaps here I can celebrate that which did not break today

or only broke a little

only broke out a little

perhaps here I remind myself the sanctity of a body

despite those who would seek to dissuade me of this notion

take my body’s magic from me

in all its expanse and sparkling brown features

like capitalists, to bottle for sale

like men, to carve into a bedpost

like cops, to carry around for a good story

perhaps here I depart from hatred

loosely cocooned in the sheets my mother gifted me

and cushioned by a mattress my father helped me buy

and aren’t these small gifts I am still given?

aren’t their arms still around me?

sometimes a revolution isn’t screaming in the streets

isn’t brimstone blocks

or helmets and hand grenades

sometimes it’s here

feeling safe

feeling nested

feeling loved

—even if it is an act of solitude

today I honor that revolution

I fought hard, after all.

———

Follow Samya @samyaabuorf