Every Morning I am Newly Acquainted with My Body

Jannah Yusuf Al-Jamil

after Kaveh Akbar / after Mitski / cw for body image issues


My reward for waking: fat

       against fat, sliding around

greasy joints. Lethargy in bones. Each morning


                     a hand against a stomach,

       crescent and gibbous, bud and wilt. I count

                     and recount the little


crevices on bread that hold butter

       and salt, each bursts of mercy

and discipline. Acid


                     laps at

       stomach walls. Hunger without hunger. Egg

                     yolk against bread against teeth. Sunlight


comes and goes — illumination

       on the trailing arm hairs around

scabs. The cherry blossom tree


                     bursts along with

       the little dots on my face. Big and small and big

                     and small. Still nobody wants me. Punishment


in the form of mirrors. Why do you

       want to wane? I suppose it’s just the right thing. It’s

assertion, sweat saying


                     I am in control. New muscle on arm saying

       I did this. Sugar after a week of none saying

                     this is for me. Here,


a little birthmark on my ear. Here,

       my thinner hair in almond oil. Here,

a miniscule scar on my arm. Crevices with fat. One day


                     I will become like my aunts, bodies robed and faces covered,

       swallowed by black abayas — curves



the wives of America’s destroyers. Wind billowing

       under the skirt — look, Lord, I dazzle for you. Soon

I will wake again


                     for the purgatory of the human body —

       awkward as newlyweds in the bedroom,

                     twice as afraid.