Survival poem

I lose count of how many times I am catcalled on my way to the gym
I think that maybe turning around, eating an entire pizza and
never coming back would stop this from happening
I realize it wouldn’t
I would still be a woman

“Smile baby,”
I hear as I leave my car
Just 3 hours of sleep to get me to where I am and
I am tired enough to silence a response from my middle finger but
not enough to quit

A guy standing at the bus stop sees my hands wrapped and
tells me that boxing is sexy
I wonder how clenched fists
self-protection and
the desire to make it home alive
each night is sexy but
I don’t ask

When I don’t hit the bag hard enough
I remember the force of
his body and
I let my knuckles do the speaking
there is no stopping after the rage is

A man tells me how lucky I am
to have this body
ignorant to the fact that hard work is nothing
remotely similar to luck
a string I have been stretching and pulling
that is what my body is
I think about how he will never have enough of it to touch me

I like the way it feels to
be sore from something willingly
to get up from the ground without a hand helping
these bruises are proof of my attempts

I have been practicing my run
to make up for all of the times
I havent had the guts to
my limbs are reaching forward for
every time they’ve been held back

I like to say that survival
is a choice made in the aftermath of destruction
the conscious decision to chew through broken glass rather
than swallow it whole
survival is not as simple as I didn’t die
it is deciding not to

Hand squeezing wrist,
he told me I’d never be enough for anyone anyway
well today I am enough for

I’m working on myself
for myself
building ash into bone into muscle
this is strength learning how to show
this is me learning how to pull through
this is me doing exactly

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