I think I am decomposing.
Wrapped in the linens you brought me,
your strong mother’s hands winding them
around and around
until I was cocooned in a shell of flax and camphor,
bergamot and crushed honeysuckle.
Now the sacred oils slick my melting skin.
One form to another, you whispered,
and I think, one form to another, as
the linens pull tighter, squeezing my bones,
crushing them into sharp fragmented shards
like the seashells we gathered when I was a child,
still living in a child’s form.
You never told me I would be awake.
You never told me I would be aware
as the oils seep in between the atoms of my body,
stretching them apart,
whispering to the strands of my DNA that
it is time, now, to let go of my youth, so
careless and ephemeral, with a body to match,
a body never meant to be eternal.
It is time for me to turn hard and beautiful,
an indestructible thing who can bear the
horrors of the universe on her shoulders.
Skin like stone armor,
teeth like glass daggers,
eyes like red suns.
In a month’s time,
when your strong mother’s hands peel the
linens away, I will be transformed:
No longer your daughter
but a soldier
an act of violence.
Until that moment comes, I am
nothing but genetic matter. The only
stage of my life when
I am nothing but myself.