i’ll build a dresser in my chest

by Paula Ethans

i’ll build a dresser in my chest
bend back each rib bone
shove all the syllables
into the cavernous drawers
cage the question marks
with a death wish
grow heavy
with audacious thoughts

so i’ll compensate
scrape myself hollow
with a grapefruit spoon
its tiny serrated lip
good for excavating my edges
all but evaporate
hear myself echo
from my yiayia’s bosom
a lack of body experience

i’ll crush perfume
into my pores
youth dew myself
to conceal the scent of
worn-in skin

i’ll slide spikes in my spine
one in each vertebra
like a shovel slicing through soil
place an easy path to walk all over me
metal on marrow

hear the crunch of bones beneath
like a bag of chips below foot
expelling its last breath
of stagnant air

i’ll put flowers in my hair
screw the stems into my scalp
perform fertility

pluck the petals
from my skin
white flag you
all the pretty

i’ll oblige
because i always mistake
violence for desire
when someone says
they want to build a home out of me

Paula Ethans is an emerging poet from Canada who has poems published or forthcoming in Emerge Literary Journal, Ethel Zine, The Quarantine Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, 3 Moon Magazine, WordsFest Zine, Bareknuckle Poet, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @PaulaEthans.