Self Portrait in Three Parts By Samantha Brynn

Combustion as a function of touch –
you say baby I need you
and I tilt my chin in the air
like no, I am not a matchstick girl
but I am, baby, I am.

Mama always said I was much too fragile,
but these limbs make great kindling.

Okay, mama, I said. Okay, I’ll be careful.

She said be careful
but you said please real nice
and I said okay, touch me here

and then the house went up in flames.

Baby girl never knew how to talk about herself
like she was split into halves.

(How do you split your soul praying
for two versions of the same god?)

Biracial like she could
set herself aside in pieces;
like she could
separate her body and section it off.

(This one light; this one dark.
The almond eyes; the full lips.)

Tell her she can only be a fraction
and let her show you the way she is more
than just the sum of any number of parts.

My birth was like this:
first love; then breath.

(Thought did not occur to me
until the second time I broke my own heart.)

Source: Self Portrait in Three Parts By Samantha Brynn

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