kicking and screaming
i wait for the explosions in my chest to calm
so that breathing doesn’t mean
taking a beating
taking it and smiling

smiling, i bite my tongue
i swallow the blood
because spitting is rude
and i’m already familiar with the taste

mute and defiant
i think of my metallic reality
how i bite my tongue often

i fall apart when i think of my
flattened instep

i keep saying:
i am here
these feet are not pavement.
but still they’re treaded upon

i could move, i suppose
but I refuse
these are my small protests
my displays of imagined indefatigable honor

i will not budge, i scream with my body
i will cry where i stand
weep and choke like a mad woman
when it hurts badly enough

i will not move