“The universe doesn’t allow perfection.” – Stephen Hawking
I can no longer bear the weight of my body:
of seeing it, wearing it, clothing it –
existing, exhibiting, inhabiting space.
Because of this, I decide
I am no longer a body
but biome, and in this way
to exist, to exhibit, to inhabit space
the ways in which a woman must.
This is me now:
deeper, more expansive than any
simple habitat. I am many things, all things:
sands, rivers, leaves and rocks,
the animals, the insects, the breezes.
I stretch across continents, across seas.
See how big I am now?
Tundra, taiga, bog, mangrove and reef.
Thorn scrubland, chapparal, savanna –
these are the only names I know, descriptors
endless and beautiful:
My skin is a land covered in rippling sands.
My thighs are a river scissored around a furred island.
My fingers are sticking coral glowing red-bone and white.
My breasts are a sea of stone, lichen-rich and wet.
My face is fen, mire, marsh and swamp.
My hair is grassland, prairie flowers flitting in wind.
I must become heavenly: ascend
into space beyond this: reach and gaze,
my own image staring back from the mirror.
In space my fruit is light
and lighted. Look at me: I am gibbous,
I am rock body, floated,
my weight foundational. I am built upon,
not whittled or carved away. There is space
for colony, their progeny and more – but
Rhiannon Conley is a poet and writing instructor living in North Dakota. Her work has appeared in Moonsick Magazine, The Rat’s Ass Review, The Roaring Muse, The North Dakota Quarterly, Grimoire, Whale Road Review and is forthcoming from Literary Mama, Occulum and Longleaf Review. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016. Her first chapbook, Less Precious, was published by Semiperfect Press in 2017. She writes an irregular newsletter of short poetic essays called Smol Talks and more regularly tweets @RhiannonAdmidas.