Travel Writing; The Intertextual

or Bed Sans Breakfast

Did you know that there is a hollow I like to crawl into and breathe?
It rests at the end of your sternum, and it fits my chin perfectly.
I travel lazily up your skin
as if the warmth will stay forever, as if days wouldn’t turn into nights.
I travel to it like a Disney princess who has not become a Disney princess,
like a Snow White whose organs are threatened,
like a Cinderella who has been abused,
like a princess before she was subjected to unnatural proportions
and to forty personality tests on Buzzfeed,
to the legacy of having to lie to children about that time when the dwarves and I –
I travel like a pilgrim who believes but doesn’t but does but just think!
think how amazing this temple will look on Instagram!
There’s an old story where I come from about a mean old lady
who wore nine coats at the end of winter and shed one every day, convinced spring had come
she died because she miscalculated and I travel with all of the coats in the world
stuffed under my skin to keep me safe; I feel like a toy on the highest shelf
in the last aisle and not because I’m precious but because
no one cares enough to get a ladder and reach me;
I’ve been there all my life, the last of the toys that people ask about
and are turned away – all the employees are people with degrees
and I want to shout from my shelf, but I’ve been there for so long
that my mouth, the one they sewed with red string has fallen.
I travel like the blind, clueless wandering with my arms out;
my eyes are shut and the voices behind them shiver with anticipation,
my hands search for me, I have learned the planes of your body,
the Elysian Fields, the afterlife of the righteous, the plains of togetherness
hidden in the evening air; I feel I could travel until the end of time and even then
when my eyes open and yours are on mine, I would finally see for the first time.
I travel across your ribs like fingertips on a keyboard birthing this poem,
my lips are chapped when they follow and I fear I will lose myself through the cracks;
I can see self-consciousness pouring in the hollow that is reserved for my chin
I can see dismissal and I can see my lips when they linger, dry and concerned;
your hand on the back of my head keeps me there:
I rejoice in not having to take another decision – I lick my lips.
I travel your jawline like a daredevil on a thread above a pit of snakes;
your smile moves me and I slide into your collarbone
I feel so content that if I were to fall, I’d rise like the snake queen:
a happy Medusa, an icon for fertility and happiness, a mad reversed world!
I would depart from the Gorgon and settle for Georgian,
Blake and Keats and Burns would carry my poetry inclined snakes to dinner
and we would sit and eat and drink and I would sleep on a bed of Romantics.
I travel like a body falling in a dream and when I come back to your skin
I feel decades have passed; we are still in my bed and your hand is warm on my back
it moves in slow circles and it occurs to me that perhaps you’re travelling too;
you run your fingers through my hair and I curse Ariel for not breaking Eric’s hand to use as a comb;
I wonder if I would give my voice up for a man, and I don’t have an answer stronger than no.
I travel like a suitcase through four different airports, hauled from one to the other
but when you hold my chin and you kiss my lips, chapped and with unsealed cracks
that could allow me to lose myself, I feel like my hand is a handle and you’re taking me home.

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