Boxed & Unboxed

Putting my whole life in boxes,
Sorting through the bric-a-brac one by one,
Then carrying the aggregate,
Load after load,
300 miles,
I can imagine for the first time
What the man who invented gender must’ve been thinking.

My body starts layering on armor,
Scarred by the beating of the sun,
The slinging of too-full boxes,
Self-tethered arc testing the strength
Of my skeleton.
My brittle nails break
And I cut them down
And they break again.
The work sandpapers my smoothed skin,
Grinds my bones together,
Keeps my mind present in my thighs with a throb,
And my body thickens out to meet it
Until every surface can grip,
Can lift,
Can pull.

And then I go to put my miles-carried clothes away,
Unpacking and smoothing out,
And the rough edges from two weeks’ work
Catch on every single thread.

There is work that asks me to be rough
And work that asks me to be soft
And, island to myself,
I want to be good at both
With the expectations of neither.