Tag Archives: exposure


“You own everything that happened to you.  Tell your stories.  If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”  ~Anne Lamott


You’ve been told
warned is more like it
that you really shouldn’t
write this down
and add it to the internet
or to the sum of your woes
but you know what it’s like
how it feels to be silent
wide eyed as you hear
the sharp words enter you
destroy your self-esteem
those letters arranged
in sentences that suggest
you control your appetite
do something about the size
of your ass your thighs
are thicker than your skin
so you obey and swell up
on the inside as your body
shrinks into invisibility
hoping someday someone
will notice that your voice
is just a mirror reflecting
everything your heart absorbs
and maybe someone would even
try to test it with something
tender like love to see
how sweetly you can sing.






*As I explain in my bio, my poems are sometimes true, sometimes fiction, sometimes a mix. This poem came to me last night after I ate not one, but two brownies (gasp!) and was reminded of past relationships (yes, plural) with individuals who were more concerned with my appearance than my happiness.

After a Decade

I’m sorry.
I shouldn’t bring you here like this,
where everything is reduced or inflated
by exaggeration.

Even you
will be distorted by this poem,
but I promise to paint you with all the pretty colors
this language allows
and still cover our lives
in camouflage.

I want you to know
that I am grateful for that
moment in the basement when
you shouted that married people have secret lives—
after you answered with honesty
a question I’d just asked.

It was then,
in the slaughterhouse of our union
I picked up my guts
and rearranged them
with my heart buried on the bottom
which is where it ought to have been hidden
all along.

I want you to know
that I am grateful now
that you never stepped into
my habitat of words—
I forgive you to the extent that you are sorry.
You’ve allowed me my own secret life
I didn’t know I wanted
or I’d need.

And here we are
holding hands on this white page
after a decade of maneuvering in and out
of the doors we chose to open to the other—
and I don’t peek anymore
into those rooms
you needed to close.


DeMaris Gaunt