Poetry: “here, in my body” by Bianca Phipps


here, in my body

the process of getting an IUD was
in no way
what I would call fun

I can only describe it as reverse birth, except!
with something very cold & metal & a fraction of the size of a human baby.

(don’t let this be misleading.
something the fraction of the size of a human baby
does not make it less daunting.
it just makes it smaller,
which just makes you feel worse about yourself.)

it didn’t help that I was hungover, either,
or that I had tried, fruitlessly, to shove a Dunkin Donuts Blueberry MuffinTM
into my dry, dry mouth on the train
because the Planned Parenthood nurse told me it would help
if I ate beforehand.

& yet, there I was, feet hoisted skyward,
sweating in the oversized sweater I stupidly wore
two women staring into me
determined to fit the five year Liletta past my cervix
because goddammit, I was not going to spend the next four years
worrying about birth control

what pushed me through the blood
& the sweat
& the unsuccessful first attempt at insertion
was the thought of Mike Pence, sitting in some other room
power draining from his cold & heartless body because somewhere
I was taking control of my body & its future.

& I am a queer Latinx,
so there’s a triple whammy.

in this world, I will take victories as they come
even if they are bloody & painful & small in the grand scheme.
this seemingly minute task of getting birth control was, for me,
an act of rebellion.
a way to claim this space as mine.
& so I thrived
even as I bled & begged for it to be over.

in a perfect world, I would feel safe.
I would know the future is a sunny day, waiting for me to arrive.
I would know the simplicity of peace.

in this world, I get none of it—
& this world is no different than the old world
it’s just that in this world
the paint has peeled off of the walls & the rot has been revealed,
a decrepit black mold secret America has tried to pretend was take care of long ago.

we have been crumbling since we were built
our history nothing but bloodshed & ignorance
wrapped in patriotism & sold as necessity. 
even now, history is being rewritten by those who can afford to forget
what a bloody march we have trod. what ghosts follow behind.
those they have tried to burn & to bury & to cast out & erase

& yet

here we are.
here we are.
the result of surviving. 
raised by the skeletons of the good fights
& the dirty fights 
all that bruised knuckle split lip grit 
still lives here
a pulsing reminder that life is not worth living   
unless you are living to make it better.

we are here to peel back the paint
& stare down the rot
& get to cleaning. 

the future will not be a sunny day waiting.
the future will belong to those who fight long enough to see it
& I intend to see it. 

even if I am unwanted, I will see it.
even if I am what they fear most, I will see it. 
& they will see me.
& be forced to remember what they tried to whitewash out.
& watch as tomorrow is written without them.

it starts small.
here, in my body.            
here, in my house.          
here, in my words.

the future belongs to those who believe in it.
& I do.
I do.

Bianca Phipps (she/her) is a poet, teaching artist, and actor based out of Chicago. Her work can be found on Button Poetry, Persephone’s Daughters, or in her first chapbook, White River Happiness. When she isn’t trying to be creative, she is stuffing her face with bread and asking strangers if she can pet their dogs. 

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